Swarm-Stimulating Bacterial Enzyme Drives Choanoflagellate Mating

Scientists present evidence of bacteria-driven mating in flagellate eukaryotes at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting.

Tracy Vence
Dec 8, 2016

A chemical released by the bacterium Vibrio fischeri sends this protozoan, Salpinogoeca rosetta, into a mating swarm. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY; ARIELLE WOZNICASome bacteria are known to influence behaviors, such as feeding, in eukaryotes. According to research presented at the American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting held in San Francisco this week (December 6), one microbe (Vibrio fischeri) can drive mating behavior in the choanoflagellate Salpinogoeca rosetta through the release of an enzyme. Evolutionary biologist Nicole King of the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues have found that exposure to a V. fischeri–produced chonodroitin sulfate lyase leads S. rosetta to aggregate for mating.

In a press release, King said that the finding “raises the possibility that environmental bacteria or bacterial symbionts may influence mating in animals as well.”

Interested in reading more?

Swarm-Stimulating Bacterial Enzyme Drives Choanoflagellate Mating

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?