Bacterial solutions to multicellularity: a tale of biofilms, filaments and fruiting bodies

Dennis Claessen, Daniel E. Rozen, Oscar P. Kuipers, Lotte Søgaard-Andersen, Gilles P. van Wezel

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294 Citations (Scopus)
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Although bacteria frequently live as unicellular organisms, many spend at least part of their lives in complex communities, and some have adopted truly multicellular lifestyles and have abandoned unicellular growth. These transitions to multicellularity have occurred independently several times for various ecological reasons, resulting in a broad range of phenotypes. In this Review, we discuss the strategies that are used by bacteria to form and grow in multicellular structures that have hallmark features of multicellularity, including morphological differentiation, programmed cell death and patterning. In addition, we examine the evolutionary and ecological factors that lead to the wide range of coordinated multicellular behaviours that are observed in bacteria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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