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Genes define the interaction of social amoeba and bacteria

Amoeba eat bacteria and other human pathogens, engulfing and destroying them – or being destroyed by them, but how these single-cell organisms distinguish and respond successfully to different bacterial classes has been largely unexplained.

In a report in the journal Current Biology, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine use the model of the social amoeba – Dictyostelium discoideum – to identify the genetic controls on how the amoeba differentiate the different bacteria and respond to achieve their goal of destruction.

"No one has looked at the basic question of what happens when you put the two classes of species together," said Dr. Adam Kuspa, professor in the department of biochemistry & molecular biology and senior vice president for research at BCM. "What does the amoeba do?"

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