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Annu Rev Microbiol. 1999;53:525-49.

Intercellular signaling during fruiting-body development of Myxococcus xanthus.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602, USA.


The myxobacterium Myxococcus xanthus has a life cycle that is dominated by social behavior. During vegetative growth, cells prey on other bacteria in large groups that have been likened to wolf packs. When faced with starvation, cells form a macroscopic fruiting body containing thousands of spores. The social systems that guide fruiting body development have been examined through the isolation of conditional developmental mutants that can be stimulated to develop in the presence of wild-type cells. Extracellular complementation is due to the transfer of soluble and cell contact-dependent intercellular signals. This review describes the current state of knowledge concerning cell-cell signaling during development.

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