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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2009 Jan;7(1):36-49. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1968.

Streptomyces morphogenetics: dissecting differentiation in a filamentous bacterium.

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Department of Cell and Organism Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


During the life cycle of the filamentous bacteria Streptomyces, morphological differentiation is closely integrated with fundamental growth and cell-cycle processes, as well as with truly complex multicellular behaviour that involves hormone-like extracellular signalling and coordination with an extraordinarily diverse secondary metabolism. Not only are the bacterial cytoskeleton and the machineries for cell-wall assembly, cell division and chromosome segregation reorganized during sporulation, but the developmental programme of these fascinating organisms also has many unusual elements, including the formation of a sporulating aerial mycelium and the production of a surfactant peptide and a hydrophobic sheath that allow cells to escape from the surface tension of the growth medium.

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