Early Developmental Program Shapes Colony Morphology in Bacteria

Gideon Mamou, Ganesh Babu Malli Mohan, Alex Rouvinski, Alex Rosenberg, Sigal Ben-Yehuda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

When grown on a solid surface, bacteria form highly organized colonies, yet little is known about the earliest stages of colony establishment. Following Bacillus subtilis colony development from a single progenitor cell, a sequence of highly ordered spatiotemporal events was revealed. Colony was initiated by the formation of leading-cell chains, deriving from the colony center and extending in multiple directions, typically in a "Y-shaped" structure. By eradicating particular cells during these early stages, we could influence the shape of the resulting colony and demonstrate that Y-arm extension defines colony size. A mutant in ymdB encoding a phosphodiesterase displayed unordered developmental patterns, indicating a role in guiding these initial events. Finally, we provide evidence that intercellular nanotubes contribute to proper colony formation. In summary, we reveal a "construction plan" for building a colony and provide the initial molecular basis for this process.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1850-1857
Number of pages8
JournalCell Reports
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors.

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