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Predation by Myxococcus xanthus Induces Bacillus subtilis to Form Spore-Filled Megastructures.
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Oct 17;
Authors: Müller S, Strack SN, Ryan SE, Kearns DB, Kirby JR
Biofilm formation is a common mechanism for surviving environmental stress and can be triggered by both intraspecies and interspecies interactions. Prolonged predator-prey interactions between the soil bacteria Myxococcus xanthus and Bacillus subtilis was found to induce the formation of a new type of B. subtilis biofilm, termed megastructures. Megastructures are tree-like brachiations, as much as 500 microns in diameter and raised above the surface between 150 to 200 microns and are filled with viable endospores embedded within a dense matrix. Megastructure formation did not depend on TasA, EspE, SinI, RemA or surfactin production and thus is genetically distinguishable from colony biofilm formation on MSgg medium. As B. subtilis endospores are not susceptible to predation by M. xanthus, megastructures appear to provide an alternative mechanism for survival. In addition, M. xanthus fruiting bodies were found in nearly all instances immediately adjacent to the megastructures, suggesting that M. xanthus is unable to acquire sufficient nutrients from cells housed within the megastructures. Lastly, a B. subtilis mutant lacking the ability to defend itself via bacillaene production, formed megastructures more rapidly than the parent. Together, the results indicate that production of the megastructure facilitates B. subtilis escape into dormancy via sporulation.
PMID: 25326308 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]