Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery That Bacterium Is Phosphate Gourmet Key Clue To What Makes It Most Social Of Bacteria

Date:
September 11, 2005
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
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.

Related Articles


Myxococcus xanthus isamazingly social and co-operative for a bacterium. It "hunts" as apack, it makes a collective decision with other M. xanthus whether togo dormant or not, and it even has methods of policing the behaviour ofindividual bacteria that try to "cheat" in the collective activity ofthe group. Now Dr David Whitworth from the Biological SciencesDepartment of the University of Warwick has also discovered that itappears to seek out and consume phosphate in a "gourmet" manner,providing important evidence as to how such a relatively simpleorganism is able to act in such a social manner.

Dr Whitworthlooked at the signalling pathways used by the bacterium to processinformation to switch actions on or off. Myxococcus xanthus has anunprecedented number (around 150) of the signalling pathways known as"two component switches" which dramatically increases the level ofcomplexity of information that can be processed by the bacterium. DrWhitworth focussed on three previously described signalling pathwaysthat were known to be similar to phosphate utilisation pathways (allorganisms need to consume phosphate to thrive). Until now mostresearchers believed that all bacteria only required one phosphatedependent signalling pathway to find the phosphate needed forconsumption, and so the other two pathways found in M. xanthus simplydid something else. In collaboration with Prof Mitchell Singer of theUniversity of California at Davis, Dr Whitworth found that in fact thebacterium was using all three pathways and part of a further fourthpathway in combination, to detect and utilise phosphates, making it avery sophisticated consumer of phosphates - the bacterial equivalent ofa gourmet diner.

That the 3 pathways act in concert probablyenables the organism to find phosphates in different chemical states orenvironmental conditions, or even to exploit the phosphates found inother M. xanthus cells or those of potential prey organisms. DrWhitworth found that:

* The potential complexity of theinformation on phosphate levels that the bacterium can process issignificantly increased by the findings that there are three phosphatesignalling pathways, with considerable interaction between the threepathways.

* A further additional partial pathway also acts as aphosphate level detector - giving the bacterium even more tools toemploy as a phosphate gourmet.

* Dr Whitworth also has evidencethat the surprising extent of interaction between the three and a halfphosphate signalling pathways is also found among the other 140 plussignalling pathways of the bacterium. If three and half pathways areenough to make it a phosphate gourmet, the level of interactionsbetween up to 150 pathways will easily be enough to give Myxococcusxanthus its precocious social skills.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Discovery That Bacterium Is Phosphate Gourmet Key Clue To What Makes It Most Social Of Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050910090804.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2005, September 11). Discovery That Bacterium Is Phosphate Gourmet Key Clue To What Makes It Most Social Of Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050910090804.htm
University of Warwick. "Discovery That Bacterium Is Phosphate Gourmet Key Clue To What Makes It Most Social Of Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050910090804.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins