Nearly all motile bacteria can sense and respond to their surroundings—finding food, avoiding poisons, and targeting cells to infect, for example—through a process called chemotaxis. This allows the bacteria to move towards chemicals they are attracted to, and away from ones that repel them. Because chemotaxis plays a critical role in the first steps of bacterial infection, a better understanding of the process could pave the way for the development of new, more effective antibiotics. Researchers at Caltech are helping to reveal just how chemotaxis works.
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