Morphological Plasticity as a Bacterial Survival Strategy

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Feb;6(2):162-8. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1820.

Abstract

Bacteria have evolved complex systems to maintain consistent cell morphologies. Nevertheless, in certain circumstances, bacteria alter this highly regulated process to transform into filamentous organisms. Accumulating evidence attributes important biological roles to filamentation in stressful environments, including, but not limited to, sites of interaction between pathogenic bacteria and their hosts. Filamentation could represent an intended response to specific environmental cues that promote survival amidst the threats of consumption and killing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / growth & development
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / pathogenicity
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / physiology
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria* / ultrastructure
  • Heat-Shock Response
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / growth & development
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / pathogenicity
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / physiology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis* / ultrastructure
  • Urinary Bladder / cytology
  • Urinary Bladder / microbiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology