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Engineered bidirectional communication mediates a consensus in a microbial biofilm consortium
 

Summary: Engineered bidirectional communication mediates
a consensus in a microbial biofilm consortium
Katie Brenner*, David K. Karig
, Ron Weiss§
, and Frances H. Arnold*¶
*Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, MC 210-41, Pasadena, CA 91125; and Departments of Electrical
Engineering and Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544
Edited by Charles R. Cantor, Sequenom, Inc., San Diego, CA, and approved September 10, 2007 (received for review May 7, 2007)
Microbial consortia form when multiple species colocalize and
communally generate a function that none is capable of alone.
Consortia abound in nature, and their cooperative metabolic ac-
tivities influence everything from biodiversity in the global food
chain to human weight gain. Here, we present an engineered
consortium in which the microbial members communicate with
each other and exhibit a ``consensus'' gene expression response.
Two colocalized populations of Escherichia coli converse bidirec-
tionally by exchanging acyl-homoserine lactone signals. The con-
sortium generates the gene-expression response if and only if both
populations are present at sufficient cell densities. Because neither
population can respond without the other's signal, this consensus

  

Source: Arnold, Frances H. - Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

 

Collections: Chemistry; Biology and Medicine