Bacterial Multiplication

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Science  21 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5610, pp. 1153
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5610.1153a

Even though bacteria live their lives as single-celled entities, they still need to keep up to date with what their neighbors, friendly and otherwise, are doing. In a process called quorum sensing, Vibrio harveyi monitors its surroundings via two protein phosphorylation pathways that produce and detect autoinducers 1 and 2 (AI-1 and AI-2). The first is restricted to V. harveyi and a close relative, whereas the second is found in a wide variety of both Gram-negative and Gram-positive species. Mok et al. identify a number of target genes whose expression is regulated by AI-2. From an analysis of the responses of these genes to combinations of AI-1 and AI-2, they propose that this pair of pathways may serve as a coincidence detector, primarily designed to signal the presence of both inducers and, in essence, acting as an AND gate. — GJC

EMBO J.22, 870 (2003).

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