The Open Evolution Journal


ISSN: 1874-4044 ― Volume 7, 2013

Bio-Communication of Bacteria and their Evolutionary Roots in Natural Genome Editing Competences of Viruses

The Open Evolution Journal, 2008, 2: 44-54

Günther Witzany

Telos-Philosophische Praxis, Vogelsangstraße 18c, 5111-Buermoos, Austria.

Electronic publication date 09/6/2008
[DOI: 10.2174/1874404400802010044]

Communicative competences and the use of a semiochemical vocabulary enable bacteria to develop, organise and coordinate rich social life with a great variety of behavioral patterns even in which they organise themselves like multicellular organisms. They have existed for almost four billion years and still survive, being part of the most dramatic changes in evolutionary history such as DNA invention, cellular life, invention of nearly all protein types, partial constitution of eukaryotic cells, vertical colonisation of all eukaryotes, high adaptability through horizontal gene transfer and cooperative multispecies colonisation of all ecological niches. Recent research demonstrates that these bacterial competences derive from the aptitude of viruses for natural genome editing.

In contrast to a book which would be the appropriate space to outline in depth all communicative pathways inherent in bacterial life in this current article I want to give an overview for a broader readership over the great variety of bacterial bio-communication: In a first step I describe how they interpret and coordinate, what semiochemical vocabulary they share and which goals they try to reach. In a second stage I describe transorganismic communication, i.e. the main categories of sign-mediated interactions between bacterial and non-bacterial organisms, and interorganismic communication, i.e. between bacteria of the same or related species. In a third stage I will focus on intraorganismic communication, i.e. the relationship between bacteria and their obligate settlers, i.e. viruses. We will see that bacteria are important hosts for multiviral colonisation and the virally-determined order of nucleic acid sequences, which has implications for our understanding of the evolutionary history of pre-cellular and cellular life.

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