Bacteria advertise to recruit new members to their community, new study suggests
Biologists at University of California, San Diego, have discovered that bacteria living in biofilm communities interact with each other using “ion channels,” which is an electrical signaling method that is similar to the communication signals used by neurons in human brain. Biofilms are thin films composed of communities of bacteria as well as other microorganisms. They are difficult to get rid of owing to their high resistance to antibiotics and other chemicals. The research team studied the behavior of a biofilm composed only of Bacillus subtilis bacteria and found that the biofilm was able to attract bacteria of other species through electrical signaling. They observed that bacteria forms protective biofilm communities and expand the communities by “advertising” themselves to other bacterial species. Gürol Süel, a professor of molecular biology, and the leader of this study, said, “Bacteria within biofilms can exert long-range and dynamic control over the behavior of distant cells that are not part of their communities.” These findings will help in the development of approaches that would control bacterial behavior within biofilms and could also help in regulating gut microbiome.
Read more in Science Daily.