Light-stimulated morphogenesis in the fruiting myxobacterium Stigmatella aurantiaca

Science  04 Aug 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4354, pp. 444-445
DOI: 10.1126/science.96528


When the fruiting myxobacterium Stigmatella aurantiaca, a gliding prokaryote, is starved on an agar surface, the cells form multicellular aggregates resulting from morphogenetic movements. In the presence of incandescent light, each aggregate develops into a structurally complex fruiting body, possessing a stalk and several sporangia. In contrast, this pattern of development is not seen when cultures are incubated in the dark. The cells form irregular interconnecting aggregates, which rarely develop into fruits. However, aggregates formed in the light will develop into fruits even if placed in the dark, suggesting that the light produced a relatively stable alteration in the phenotype of the cells.