Photorhabdus Luminescens: Bacteria's Version Of Jekyll And Hyde

Thursday, July 5, 2012 - 15:10 in Biology & Nature

Living in the guts of worms are seemingly innocuous Photorhabdus luminescens bacteria that contribute to the worms' survival. Yet with a flip of a genetic switch, those same bacteria transform from harmless microbes into deadly insecticides.How the photorhabdus bacteria  and a single promoter inversion switches it from an upstanding community member in the gut microbiome to deadly killer in insect blood is the subject of a new study. The bacteria in question are bioluminescent insect pathogens. In their mutualistic state, they reside in the intestines of worms, growing slowly and performing other functions that aid nematode's survival, even contributing to reproduction. read more

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