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Bacteria Communicate by Touch, New Research Suggests

What if bacteria could talk to each other? What if they had a sense of touch? A new study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara suggests both, and theorizes that such cells may, in fact, need to communicate in order to perform certain functions.

The findings appeared recently in the journal Genes & Development.

Christopher Hayes, UCSB associate professor of molecular, cellular, and development biology, teamed with graduate students Elie Diner, Christina Beck, and Julia Webb to study uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), which causes urinary tract infections in humans. They discovered a sibling-like link between cell systems that have largely been thought of as rivals.

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