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Strain between strains: antagonism and compatibility in myxobacteria development

Govaerts, Jack
Multicellularity is commonly thought to only occur in eukaryotes, but this view is not accurate. Myxobacteria are prokaryotes that, when under starvation, form multicellular fruiting bodies through cells aggregating, as opposed to the more common eukaryote strategy of clonal expansion from a single fertilized cell. However, because the cells that compose the fruiting body have to be assembled from the environment, myxobacteria need to discriminate kin from non-kin to prevent non-kin from exploiting the benefits of forming multicellular fruiting bodies and differentiation into germ cells-like spores. A previous study identified antagonism mediated by reciprocal toxin exchange as the key determinant of social compatibility in Myxococcus xanthus during vegetative growth. Here we tested whether these toxin systems are key determinants of compatibility during fruiting body development. Utilizing strains from three separate lineages, we found that the type 6 secretion system is the primary determinant of antagonism between strains from different clades. However, it was not the only determinant of antagonism. Although removing its function changed which strains won or lost, there was still clear antagonism in all experiments.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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kin discrimination , conflict , cooperation , myxobacteria , self-recognition , type VI secretion system , fruiting body development
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