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Trends Microbiol. 2005 Jul;13(7):302-7.

Off the hook--how bacteria survive protozoan grazing.

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  • 1School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Centre for Marine Biofouling and Bio-Innovation, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia.


Bacterial growth and survival in numerous environments are constrained by the action of bacteria-consuming protozoa. Recent findings suggest that bacterial adaptations against protozoan predation might have a significant role in bacterial persistence and diversification. We argue that selective predation has given rise to diverse routes of bacterial defense, including adaptive mechanisms in bacterial biofilms, and has promoted major transitions in bacterial evolution, such as multicellularity and pathogenesis. We propose that studying predation-driven adaptations will provide an exciting frontier for microbial ecology and evolution at the interface of prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

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