Natures wonders: warring bacteria are clever (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 03, 2018, 00:29 (522 days ago) @ David Turell

They can turn opposing bacteria on each other:

"Some bacteria can release toxins that provoke their neighbours into attacking each other, a tactic that could be exploited to fight infections.

"Bacteria often engage in 'warfare' by releasing toxins or other molecules that damage or kill competing strains. This war for resources occurs in most bacterial communities, such as those living naturally in our gut or those that cause infection.

"As well as producing toxins that directly kill their competitors, bacteria can release toxins that can act as 'provoking agents'. These provoking toxins make other strains increase their aggression levels by boosting their toxic response.

"They found that when used against a single competitor, provocation backfires: the provoked strain mounts a strong toxic counterattack and harms the provoking strain.

"However, when there are three or more strains present, provocation causes the other competing strains to increase their aggression and attack each other. This can lead to the competitors wiping each other out, especially when the provoking strain is shielded from, or resistant to, their toxins.

"Senior author Dr. Despoina Mavridou, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: "This behavior is strongly reminiscent of the human 'divide and conquer' strategy, famously delineated by Niccolò Machiavelli in his book The Art of War and shows that bacteria are capable of very elaborate warfare tactics.'"

Comment: The Muslim provided 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' comes to mind.

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