SnapShot: Electrochemical Communication in Biofilms

Cell. 2017 Jun 29;170(1):214-214.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.026.


The role of electricity in biological systems was first appreciated through electrical stimulation experiments performed by Luigi Galvani in the 18th century. These pioneering experiments demonstrated that the behavior of living tissues is governed by the flow of electrochemical species-an insight that gave rise to the modern field of electrophysiology. Since then, electrophysiology has largely remained a bastion of neuroscience. However, exciting recent developments have demonstrated that even simple bacteria residing in communities use electrochemical communication to coordinate population-level behaviors. These recent works are defining the emerging field of bacterial biofilm electrophysiology. To view this SnapShot, open or download the PDF.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Biofilms*
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena