Bacterial nanotubes: a conduit for intercellular molecular trade

Amit K. Baidya, Saurabh Bhattacharya, Gyanendra P. Dubey, Gideon Mamou, Sigal Ben-Yehuda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bacteria use elaborate molecular machines for intercellular contact-dependent interactions. We discuss a relatively less explored type of intercellular connections mediated by tubular membranous bridges, termed nanotubes. Increasing evidence suggests that nanotube structures mediate cytoplasmic molecular trade among neighboring cells of the same and different species. Further, nanotubes were found to facilitate both antagonistic and cooperative interspecies interactions, thereby allowing the emergence of new non-heritable phenotypes in multicellular bacterial communities. We propose that nanotube-mediated cytoplasmic sharing represents a widespread form of bacterial interactions in nature, providing an enormous potential for the emergence of new features. Here we review the current knowledge on bacterial nanotubes, and highlight the gaps in our current understanding of their operation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Volume42
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank A Rouvinski and I Rosenshine (Hebrew University, IL) for valuable comments. This work was supported by the European Research Council Advanced Grant ( 339984 ) awarded to SB-Y. SBH is supported by a fellowship from the Lady Davis Fellowship Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

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