Flagellum Mediates Symbiosis

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Science  20 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5921, pp. 1574
DOI: 10.1126/science.1170086

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We report here molecular mechanisms underlying a bacteria-archaeon symbiosis. We found that a fermentative bacterium used its flagellum for interaction with a specific methanogenic archaeon. The archaeon perceived a bacterial flagellum protein and activated its metabolism (methanogenesis). Transcriptome analyses showed that a substantial number of genes in the archaeon, including those involved in the methanogenesis pathway, were up-regulated after the contact with the flagellum protein. These findings suggest that the bacterium communicates with the archaeon by using its flagellum.

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