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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Inositol or bust: genes reveal importance of inositol for Cryptococci

When Bacillus subtilis gets the chance, it establishes thick, gluey biofilms held together by a matrix of exopolysaccharides and protein. Once cells sense that there’s enough extracellular matrix, they switch over to sporulating and tend to localize themselves in aerial protrusions so they can spread to new locations. But how do cells sense that there is enough of the gooey matrix and that it’s time to get down to the business of sporulation?

Until now, we haven’t known much about how this switch is made. A paper selected for the inaugural issue of mBio reveals a role for the sensor kinase KinD and begins to shed some light on the matter. By testing a combination of matrix defect mutations and KinD deletions, Aguilar et al. demonstrate that KinD inhibits the initiation of sporulation and the completion of the biofilm matrix releases this inhibition.

You can find the unrevised version of Aguilar et al. on the mBio website now. A final, typeset version of the article will appear in the inaugural issue of the online journal in May.
 
 

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