How Bacteria Talk to Each Other
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Presented by the Microbiology Section
Speaker: Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Bonnie Bassler spends her professional life eavesdropping on bacteria. "We scientists were all wrong thinking that bacteria live asocial, reclusive lives," said Bassler. "There isn't any way they could accomplish the terrible and the wonderful things they do on earth acting as individuals."
In fact, bacteria are gregarious by nature, preferring to crowd together in complex, multi-species communities, whether on abiotic surfaces or living tissue. They are superbly well adapted to lives of infinite uncertainty and intense competition. The ability to communicate and cooperate goes a long way toward ensuring their survival.