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Cell. 2006 Apr 21;125(2):237-46.

Bacterially speaking.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.


Bacteria use a variety of means to communicate with one another and with their eukaryotic hosts. In some cases, social interactions allow bacteria to synchronize the behavior of all of the members of the group and thereby act like multicellular organisms. By contrast, some bacterial social engagements promote individuality among members within the group and thereby foster diversity. Here we explore the molecular mechanisms underpinning some recently discovered bacterial communication systems. These include long- and short-range chemical signaling channels; one-way, two-way, and multi-way communication; contact-mediated and contact-inhibited signaling; and the use and spread of misinformation or, more dramatically, even deadly information.

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