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More than a sex addiction: pheromones are for more than just gene exchange

At first glance, you might not think the fungus Candida albicans and the bacterium Enterococcus faecalis would have a lot in common, but mBio’s first Minireview reveals another story: these dissimilar pathogens both use pheromone signaling for mating and for pathogenesis. By probing the environment with chemical messengers, both these species determine when the time is right to get friendly with their social contacts (ahem), and we now know they also use pheromones to activate expression of potential virulence factors.

The authors summarize and compare what we know about telesensing in C. albicans and E. faecalis, and point out that since this functional duplicity evolved independently in these unrelated species, there is good reason to suspect similar links between pheromone signaling and pathogenesis are will eventually be uncovered in other microbial systems.

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