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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1996 Apr 1;137(2-3):227-31.

Behavioral analysis of single cells of Myxococcus xanthus in response to prey cells of Escherichia coli.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Myxococcus xanthus cells move over surfaces by gliding motility. The frz signal transduction system is used to control the reversal frequency, and thus the overall direction of movement of M. xanthus cells. We analyzed the behavior of wild-type and frz mutant cells in response to prey bacteria (Escherichia coli). Wild-type cells of M. xanthus did not respond to microcolonies of E. coli until they made physical contact. Cells which penetrated a colony remained in the colony until all of the prey cells were digested. Cells of frz mutants also penetrated E. coli microcolonies and digested some of the E. coli cells, but they invariably abandoned the microcolony leaving their food source behind. These observations illustrate the importance of the frz system of signal transduction for the feeding behavior of M. xanthus cells.

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