Bacillus Loquacious: AI-2 and the Talkative Bacterium

Bacteria are gregarious little creatures, chatting amongst themselves and even with members of other species.

"When we think about bacteria, we think about them as being tiny single-celled organisms that live these very asocial reclusive lives," said Bonnie Bassler, a molecular biologist at Princeton University. "In fact, bacteria have developed language, and the language is chemical."

Individual bacteria secrete signalling molecules into their environment. When these autoinducers reach a critical mass, the quorum sensing capabilities of bacteria come into play. Then, bacteria coordinate their behavior, acting almost like a single multicellular organism.


(From Vibrio fischeri bioluminesce when they sense a quorum)

Not all autoinducers are species-specific; AI-2 is a universal autoinducer understood across bacterial species boundaries. Some scientists belive that AI-2 could serve as the basis for a new class of antibiotics.

Finally, someone is pushing research into the "language" of bacteria in the right direction. To see an example of the wrong direction, read Humans Teach Bacteria New Language in which (mad!) scientists are actually trying to train bacteria to talk with each other in a new way. For the science-fictional point of view, see the discussion of intelligent cells from Greg Bear's 1984 novel Blood Music.

Read more about Talking Bacteria, and How to Shut Them Up.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/14/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Medical ")

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.' - James Blish, 1957.

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Rise Of Skywalker Could Trigger Epileptic Seizures
'... then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while.' - John Varley, 1984.

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Realistic Translation With The Waverly Labs Ambassador
'The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.'

Biotech Firms Raised $Millions For Anti-Agathics (Longevity Drugs)
'Against Death doth no simple grow.'

Out-Of-Work Blue Collar Robots Need Your Help
'His legs relaxed with a rattle as he cut off all power below his waist... and ran his eye down the Help Wanted - Robot column...'

The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories.'

Smart Contact Lenses Charges With 3D Printed Antenna
'He realized that it was not quite a clear lens.'

Segway S-Pod Fulfills Dire 1928 SciFi Prophecy
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

Physicist Inspired By SciFi And Seeing Back In Time
'Here is the chronoscope... Scansion depends upon a special curved field...'

Airbnb Has AI Psychiatrist Looking At Your Facebook
'It's illegal to hold back information during a psyche test.'

NASA's Electric Motor Scooter
'...all the [lunar] prospectors took bicycles along as a matter of course'

Moving Suns To Different Galactic Neighborhoods
'...to swerve their star from its course, the globemen made use of a simple physical principle.'

Students Surveilled By School Phone Apps
Cheer up, students. '...cracking my SchoolBook had been easy.'

Massage Robot Has Soft Hands, Er, Pads
'The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.'

Medical Tattoos Are STILL Being Researched
'Following the current craze, she has had a subdermal pattern of micro-channels implanted.'

Elon Musk's Traffic Tunnel Challenge Is Boring
'The car vibrated... threading the maze of local tubes.'

DoD Requests AI Drone Swarm
'She saw into two glassy mechanical lenses, something with a tubelike body...'

BlueNalu Yellowtail Might Be Your First Lab-Grown Meat
Vat-grown nigiri sushi?

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.