Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery that bacterium is a phosphate gourmet provides key clue to what makes it the most social of bacteria

09.09.2005


New research into one of the world’s most social bacteria - Myxococcus xanthus, has discovered that it has a gourmet style approach to its consumption of phosphates, which provides a key clue to what makes it the most "social" of bacteria.



Myxococcus xanthus is amazingly social and co-operative for a bacterium. It "hunts" as a pack, it makes a collective decision with other M. xanthus whether to go dormant or not, and it even has methods of policing the behaviour of individual bacteria that to try to "cheat" in the collective activity of the group. Now Dr David Whitworth from the Biological Sciences Department of the University of Warwick has also discovered that it appears to seek out and consume phosphate in a "gourmet" manner, providing important evidence as to how such a relatively simple organism is able to act in such a social manner.

Dr Whitworth looked at the signalling pathways used by the bacterium to process information to switch actions on or off. Myxococcus xanthus has an unprecedented number (around 150) of the signalling pathways known as "two component switches" which dramatically increases the level of complexity of information that can be processed by the bacterium. Dr Whitworth focussed on three previously described signalling pathways that were known to be similar to phosphate utilisation pathways (all organisms needs to consume phosphate to thrive). Until now most researchers believed that all bacteria only required one phosphate dependent signalling pathway to find the phosphate needed for consumption, and so the other two pathways found in M. xanthus simply did something else. In collaboration with Prof Mitchell Singer of the University of California at Davis, Dr Whitworth found that in fact the bacterium was using all three pathways and part of a further fourth pathway in combination, to detect and utilise phosphates, making it a very sophisticated consumer of phosphates - the bacterial equivalent of a gourmet diner.


That the 3 pathways act in concert probably enables the organism to find phosphates in different chemical states or environmental conditions, or even to exploit the phosphates found in other M. xanthus cells or those of potential prey organisms. Dr Whitworth found that:

The potential complexity of the information on phosphate levels the bacterium can process is significantly increased by the findings that there are three phosphate signalling pathways, with considerable interaction between the three pathways.

A further additional partial pathway also acts as a phosphate level detector - giving the bacterium even more tools to employ as a phosphate gourmet.

Dr Whitworth also has evidence that the surprising extent of interaction between the three and a half phosphate signalling pathways is also found among the other 140 plus signalling pathways of the bacterium. If three and half pathways are enough to make it a phosphate gourmet, the level of interactions between up to 150 pathways will easily be enough to give Myxococcus xanthus its precocious social skills.

Peter Dunn | alfa
Further information:
http://www.warwick.ac.uk
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/NE1000000118277/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Could a particle accelerator using laser-driven implosion become a reality?

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour

24.05.2018 | Health and Medicine

Complementing conventional antibiotics

24.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>