UC San Diego Research: Study Unveils How Bacteria Send Out eVites To Each Other


Previous studies revealed that the body is made up of 40 trillion bacteria suggesting that humans are 90 percent bacteria and 10 percent human. These bacteria can either harm or help the body. A recent study further revealed that before bacteria can do these activities, they send out some sort of eVites with each other to converge.

Bacteria, basically are very tiny organisms that cannot do anything unless they converge together and form a community called biofilms. More so, these organisms are different from each other and they float in and on the human body. They converge by sending out some sort of an email invite to join and strengthen the community. These eVites are sent out through ion channels that pass electrically charged potassium ions.

The study which was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of California-San Diego revealed that the communication does not only happen within each biofilm but these electric signals go beyond that.

Using tracking dyes, computer modeling, and microfluidic growth chambers, the scientists discovered that these bacteria "convince" other species of bacteria to join them. In their study, they found that the Bacillus subtilis bacteria was able to recruit a species called Pseudomonas aeruginosa using the potassium ion "eVite."

The researchers said that these potassium molecules seem to be the universal language of bacteria allowing different species to communicate with each other and form mixed communities.

Gurol Süel, lead researcher of the study, said this reveals that bacteria might not be simple organisms at all as we thought them to be. In fact, these bacteria can control the behavior of cells that are not part of the community.

According to the researchers, this discovery helps them better understand how bacteria work leading to methods how to break these bacteria apart. Süel continues that it can even lead to developing electrical-based biomedical approach how to control and destroy bacteria that cause different infections.

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