Microbiology 3302 Spring 2013 – Getting Friendly with Bacteria

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  • Myxococcus xanthus
  • #13346

    Hello All! My name is Myxococcus xanthus, and welcome to my world! I am a thin rod shape bacterium that calls damp soil, rich in organic matter, home. Don’t let my thin nature fool you though, as I am recorded to be 10 times bigger than E.coli! As a gram negative bacterium, I appear as pink cells under a microscope. I also have a cell wall that is composed of phospholipids, liproproteins and lipopolysaccharides and I am a chemoorganotroph. If I ever graduated from high school I probably would have won the awards for “most social and most likely to have my colony’s back”, as during times of starvation my cells aggregate to form fruiting bodies, and some of us even commit “suicide” to ensure the survival of the others! Yes, I am that self-sacrificing. During other times, when oxygen is abundant (us obligate aerobes love our oxygen!) and food sources are available, my colony brothers and I feed in a cooperatively tight group just like a wolf pack! Just call me “Myxococcus social xanthus”! Fortunately for you humans, I feed mostly on other bacteria and soil microbes. So if I ever decided to travel to the Isles of Homosapian, it would end up being a pretty uneventful trip for you as I am nonpathogenic and have no virulence factors. I am however, very useful to you as I produce tons of secondary metabolites that have medicinal properties. I am even being used in cancer research! My family members include members of the myxococcus genus such as M. flavescens, M. fulvus, M. macrosporus, M. stipitatus and M. virescens. I am also searching for friends from my class, delta proteobacteria. We rock! So if any of you are out there please send me a friend request so that we can party!



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