COMMUNITY SITE: … Or Eavesdrop on Their Chitchat

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Science  04 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5591, pp. 19b
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5591.19b

Recent research has demolished the popular image of bacteria as silent loners slithering across a microscope slide. In fact, the garrulous cells bombard each other with chemical messages that allow them to coordinate their behavior and metabolism. Created by microbiologists at the University of Nottingham, U.K., this site explores “quorum sensing,” a bacterium's ability to estimate the number of neighboring cells from chemicals they emit. Much of the content focuses on the researchers' work to decode the signals dispatched by an assortment of species, from Escherichia coli to a cousin of the cholera bacterium. The site also offers an international directory of quorum-sensing researchers and a roundup of useful microbiology links.

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