Bacterial danger sensing

J Mol Biol. 2015 Nov 20;427(23):3744-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2015.09.018. Epub 2015 Oct 3.


Here we propose that bacteria detect and respond to threats posed by other bacteria via an innate immune-like process that we term danger sensing. We find support for this contention by reexamining existing literature from the perspective that intermicrobial antagonism, not opportunistic pathogenesis, is the major evolutionary force shaping the defensive behaviors of most bacteria. We conclude that many bacteria possess danger sensing pathways composed of a danger signal receptor and corresponding signal transduction mechanism that regulate pathways important for survival in the presence of the perceived competitor.

Keywords: Gac/Rsm; competence; interbacterial; subinhibitory antibiotics; type VI secretion.

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

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vibrio cholerae / physiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • PhoQ protein, Bacteria
  • DNA