Uniform categorization of biocommunication in bacteria, fungi and plants

World J Biol Chem. 2010 May 26;1(5):160-80. doi: 10.4331/wjbc.v1.i5.160. Epub 2010 May 28.


This article describes a coherent biocommunication categorization for the kingdoms of bacteria, fungi and plants. The investigation further shows that, besides biotic sign use in trans-, inter- and intraorganismic communication processes, a common trait is interpretation of abiotic influences as indicators to generate an appropriate adaptive behaviour. Far from being mechanistic interactions, communication processes within organisms and between organisms are sign-mediated interactions. Sign-mediated interactions are the precondition for every cooperation and coordination between at least two biological agents such as cells, tissues, organs and organisms. Signs of biocommunicative processes are chemical molecules in most cases. The signs that are used in a great variety of signaling processes follow syntactic (combinatorial), pragmatic (context-dependent) and semantic (content-specific) rules. These three levels of semiotic rules are helpful tools to investigate communication processes throughout all organismic kingdoms. It is not the aim to present the latest empirical data concerning communication in these three kingdoms but to present a unifying perspective that is able to interconnect transdisciplinary research on bacteria, fungi and plants.

Keywords: Bacteria; Fungi; Plants; Trans-organismic communicative competence.