Editors' ChoiceMicrobiology

Bacterial Contact-Dependent Growth Inhibition

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Science's STKE  23 Aug 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 298, pp. tw309
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2982005tw309

Bacteria multiply by binary fission, but under certain circumstances bacteria within communities respond to their neighbors and change their physiological properties. Aoki et al. now describe a growth inhibitory system in Escherichia coli that requires direct cell-to-cell contact and that may function to regulate the growth of specific cells within a differentiated bacterial population. Two genes were found to be responsible for contact-dependent growth inhibition, CdiA and CdiB, and the authors also identified a DNA region that provides immunity against growth inhibition. CdiA and CdiB belong to the two-partner secretion family of proteins. Functional homologs are present in uropathogenic E. coli, and potential homologs exist in a broad range of bacteria, including many pathogens.

S. K. Aoki, R. Pamma, A. D. Hernday, J. E. Bickham, B. A. Braaten, D. A. Low, Contact-dependent inhibition of growth in Escherichia coli. Science 309, 1245-1248 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]

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