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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2014 Feb;12(2):115-24. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3178. Epub 2014 Jan 2.

Bacterial solutions to multicellularity: a tale of biofilms, filaments and fruiting bodies.

Author information

1
1] Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Biology Leiden, Leiden University, Sylviusweg 72, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands. [2].
2
1] Department of Molecular Genetics, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Linnaeusborg, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands. [2] Kluyver Center for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG, Groningen, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Ecophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Karl-von-Frisch Strasse 10, 35043, Marburg, Germany.
4
Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Biology Leiden, Leiden University, Sylviusweg 72, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Although bacteria frequently live as unicellular organisms, many spend at least part of their lives in complex communities, and some have adopted truly multicellular lifestyles and have abandoned unicellular growth. These transitions to multicellularity have occurred independently several times for various ecological reasons, resulting in a broad range of phenotypes. In this Review, we discuss the strategies that are used by bacteria to form and grow in multicellular structures that have hallmark features of multicellularity, including morphological differentiation, programmed cell death and patterning. In addition, we examine the evolutionary and ecological factors that lead to the wide range of coordinated multicellular behaviours that are observed in bacteria.

PMID:
24384602
DOI:
10.1038/nrmicro3178
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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