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Science 309 (5738): 1245-1248

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Contact-Dependent Inhibition of Growth in Escherichia coli

Stephanie K. Aoki, Rupinderjit Pamma, Aaron D. Hernday, Jessica E. Bickham, Bruce A. Braaten, David A. Low*

Abstract: Bacteria have developed mechanisms to communicate and compete with each other for limited environmental resources. We found that certain Escherichia coli, including uropathogenic strains, contained a bacterial growth-inhibition system that uses direct cell-to-cell contact. Inhibition was conditional, dependent upon the growth state of the inhibitory cell and the pili expression state of the target cell. Both a large cell-surface protein designated Contact-dependent inhibitor A (CdiA) and two-partner secretion family member CdiB were required for growth inhibition. The CdiAB system may function to regulate the growth of specific cells within a differentiated bacterial population.

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of California–Santa Barbara (UCSB), Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: low{at}

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