Peptide Signals Sense and Destroy Target Cells

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Science  24 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5705, pp. 2202-2203
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107236

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It is well established that bacteria secrete signals enabling them to communicate with other members of the same species and also with other bacterial populations. In an illuminating Perspective, Garsin discusses a cytolysin signal produced by a human pathogen, Enterococcus faecalis, that enables the bacterium to sense host target cells from afar and to ramp up production of cytolysin such that target cells are efficiently lysed ( Coburn et al.).