Bacteria are unicellular organisms that may show surprising levels of sociality. They can coordinate their behavior and cooperatively build enzymes or defence compounds that a single cell would not be able to produce in sufficient quantity.
Petri dish with bacteria: a special technique reveals social cheats (white colonies), cooperating bacteria form black colonies.
Foto: Universität Göttingen
Such cooperative traits are extremely useful but at the same time vulnerable to social cheaters. Scientists from the University of Göttingen recently discovered that cooperating bacteria are able to produce toxins to defend themselves against social cheaters. However, this mechanism only functions among bacteria with close kin progeny. It turns unreliable when it comes to fighting social cheats from little related lineages. The study was published in Nature Communications.
The researchers analysed bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas, a widespread group that includes useful kinds as well as pathogenic germs. They grew multispecies communities in which social cheats rapidly evolved. The cheats were kept under control with the help of a clever mechanism: The cooperators produced toxins that left the cooperating bacteria unaffected and killed those who stopped doing so. However, the mechanism only works among closely related kin. It fails to control cheats from little related lineages.
“Bacteria exercise tight control over their clones,” leading author Dr. Alexandre Jousset from Göttingen Uni-versity’s Animal Ecology section explains. “Therefore, cooperation is only stable if all organisms within the community are closely related.” This finding about ‘bacterial partisanship’ might prove very useful with regard to curing diseases. The dangerousness of germs is often based on functioning cooperation among bacteria. “Injecting social cheats from little related lineages into communities might be a way to purposefully disturb cooperation and thus reduce the dangerousness of the disease,” says Jousset.
Original publication: Alexandre Jousset et al. Evolutionary history predicts the stability of cooperation in mi-crobial communities. Nature Communications 4:2573. Doi: 10.1038/ncomms3573.Contact:
Thomas Richter | idw
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences