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
Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
13.07.2018 | Life Sciences