Bacterially speaking

Cell. 2006 Apr 21;125(2):237-46. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.04.001.


Bacteria use a variety of means to communicate with one another and with their eukaryotic hosts. In some cases, social interactions allow bacteria to synchronize the behavior of all of the members of the group and thereby act like multicellular organisms. By contrast, some bacterial social engagements promote individuality among members within the group and thereby foster diversity. Here we explore the molecular mechanisms underpinning some recently discovered bacterial communication systems. These include long- and short-range chemical signaling channels; one-way, two-way, and multi-way communication; contact-mediated and contact-inhibited signaling; and the use and spread of misinformation or, more dramatically, even deadly information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins