The Linguistics of Bacterial Conflict Systems Reveal Ancient Origins of Eukaryotic Innate Immunity

J Bacteriol. 2020 Nov 19;202(24):e00507-20. doi: 10.1128/JB.00507-20. Print 2020 Nov 19.


The arms race between bacteria and their competitors has produced an astounding variety of conflict systems that are shared via horizontal gene transfer across bacterial populations. In this issue of the Journal of Bacteriology, Burroughs and Aravind investigate how these biological conflict systems have been mixed and matched into new configurations, often with novel protein domains (A. M. Burroughs and L. Aravind, J Bacteriol 202:e00365-20, 2020, The authors additionally characterize the evolutionary history of genes in eukaryotes that appear to have been acquired from these prokaryotic defense systems.

Keywords: phage defense.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria* / genetics
  • Eukaryota*
  • Immune System
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Linguistics