Led by scientists at UCLA, an international team of researchers has discovered that bacteria have a “memory” that passes sensory knowledge from one generation of cells to the next, all without a central nervous system or any neurons.
“This is a huge surprise to us and to the field,” said Gerard Wong, a professor of bioengineering and of chemistry and biochemistry, member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA and one of the study’s senior authors.
These findings are a major step toward understanding hard-to-treat infections caused by bacterial biofilms in people with cystic fibrosis.
The team studied a strain of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa that forms biofilms in the airways of people with cystic fibrosis and causes persistent infections that can be lethal. Bacterial biofilms can also form on surgical implants, like an artificial hip; when they do, they can cause the implant to fail. Bacterial biofilms are composed of genetically identical bacteria cells that can colonize nearly any surface and form communities in which single cells organize and cooperate … read more