RRC ID 35352
Author Dubey GP, Ben-Yehuda S.
Title Intercellular nanotubes mediate bacterial communication.
Journal Cell
Abstract Bacteria are known to communicate primarily via secreted extracellular factors. Here we identify a previously uncharacterized type of bacterial communication mediated by nanotubes that bridge neighboring cells. Using Bacillus subtilis as a model organism, we visualized transfer of cytoplasmic fluorescent molecules between adjacent cells. Additionally, by coculturing strains harboring different antibiotic resistance genes, we demonstrated that molecular exchange enables cells to transiently acquire nonhereditary resistance. Furthermore, nonconjugative plasmids could be transferred from one cell to another, thereby conferring hereditary features to recipient cells. Electron microscopy revealed the existence of variously sized tubular extensions bridging neighboring cells, serving as a route for exchange of intracellular molecules. These nanotubes also formed in an interspecies manner, between B. subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, and even between B. subtilis and the evolutionary distant bacterium Escherichia coli. We propose that nanotubes represent a major form of bacterial communication in nature, providing a network for exchange of cellular molecules within and between species.
Volume 144(4)
Pages 590-600
Published 2011-2-18
DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2011.01.015
PII S0092-8674(11)00016-X
PMID 21335240
MeSH Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism Bacillus subtilis / metabolism* Bacillus subtilis / ultrastructure* Bacterial Physiological Phenomena Cytoplasm / metabolism Microscopy, Electron, Scanning Nanotubes Plasmids / metabolism Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism
IF 38.637
Times Cited 273
Prokaryotes B. subtilis