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Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
Date:3/1/2012

communication like a secret handshake, or a password. In simpler terms, said Hayes, "If you have the right credentials, you're allowed into the club; otherwise you're turned away. There's a velvet rope, if you will, and if you're not one of the cool kids, you can't get in."

Although only UPEC was studied for this paper, Hayes said that the findings hold potential implications for pathogens from bacterial meningitis to the plague, as well as for plant-based bacteria that can devastate vegetation.

David Low, a UCSB professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and secondary author on the paper, described the work by Hayes's laboratory as potentially groundbreaking for its insights into how bacteria communicate and the practical applications that could someday result.

"We are just starting to get some clues that bacteria may be talking to each other with a contact-dependent language," said Low. "They touch and respond to one another in different ways depending on the CDI systems and other genotypic factors. Our hope is that ultimately this work may aid the development of drugs that block or enhance touch-dependent communication, whether the bacteria is harmful or helpful."


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Contact: Shelly Leachman
shelly.leachman@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-8726
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
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