Streptomyces Exploration: Competition, Volatile Communication and New Bacterial Behaviours
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Streptomyces bacteria are prolific producers of specialized metabolites, and have a well studied, complex life cycle. Recent work has revealed a new type of Streptomyces growth termed 'exploration' - so named for the ability of explorer cells to rapidly traverse solid surfaces. Streptomyces exploration is stimulated by fungal interactions, and is associated with the production of an alkaline volatile organic compound (VOC) capable of inducing exploration by other streptomycetes. Here, we examine Streptomyces exploration from the perspectives of interkingdom interactions, pH-induced morphological switches, and VOC-mediated communication. The phenotypic diversity that can be revealed through microbial interactions and VOC exposure is providing us with insight into novel modes of microbial development, and an opportunity to exploit VOCs to stimulate desired microbial behaviours.
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