Research report 2016 - Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems

bacterial microcolonies as early forms of multicellular organisms

Zaburdaev, Vasily; Pönisch, Wolfram
Max-Planck-Institut für Physik komplexer Systeme, Dresden
Many pathogenic bacteria, for example Neisseria gonorrhoeae, form microcolonies, aggregates consisting of up to several thousands of cells, due to type IV pili. These filaments mediate attractive cell-cell-forces that affect the spatially-dependent dynamics of cells within the colony. This dynamic heterogeneity can then give rise to an altered gene expression pattern in the microcolony and thus changing the phenotypes of the cells. This behavior is reminiscent of early embryonic development and suggests a view on bacterial microcolonies as model multicellular organisms.

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