All entries for Thursday 08 September 2005

September 08, 2005

Key clue to most 'social' bacterium is gourmet style consumption of phosphates

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/NE1000000118277/

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.


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