Contact-Dependent Inhibition of Growth in Escherichia coli

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Science  19 Aug 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5738, pp. 1245-1248
DOI: 10.1126/science.1115109

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Bacteria have developed mechanisms to communicate and compete with each other for limited environmental resources. We found that certain Escherichia coli, including uropathogenic strains, contained a bacterial growth-inhibition system that uses direct cell-to-cell contact. Inhibition was conditional, dependent upon the growth state of the inhibitory cell and the pili expression state of the target cell. Both a large cell-surface protein designated Contact-dependent inhibitor A (CdiA) and two-partner secretion family member CdiB were required for growth inhibition. The CdiAB system may function to regulate the growth of specific cells within a differentiated bacterial population.

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