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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Apr;24:104-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2015.01.003. Epub 2015 Feb 5.

Microbial individuality: how single-cell heterogeneity enables population level strategies.

Author information

1
Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1LR, United Kingdom.
2
Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1LR, United Kingdom. Electronic address: james.locke@slcu.cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

Much of our knowledge of microbial life is only a description of average population behaviours, but modern technologies provide a more inclusive view and reveal that microbes also have individuality. It is now acknowledged that isogenic cell-to-cell heterogeneity is common across organisms and across different biological processes. This heterogeneity can be regulated and functional, rather than just reflecting tolerance to noisy biochemistry. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of microbial heterogeneity, with an emphasis on the pervasiveness of heterogeneity, the mechanisms that sustain it, and how heterogeneity enables collective function.

PMID:
25662921
DOI:
10.1016/j.mib.2015.01.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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