Breaking (ahem): I have f i n a l l y joined twitter. Although some of my misgivings about this medium were rapidly confirmed, I hope it will be a useful tool to keep abreast of new findings and also alert colleagues of what comes out of our lab. Find me on: @Michiel_Vos_010. Although I feel blogging is not the optimal way to engage (I simply do not have enough time to write ‘proper’ blog posts), I will keep posting about PhD opportunities and new papers here (and post pics of Cornish underwater life on my other blog).

Also, I just did a little fun ‘Microbe of the Month’ feature in Trends in Microbiology on my favourite bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, see here. A fascinating bug!

The life cycle of M. xanthus. Cells swarm in social groups using S-motility, with individual cells exploring the surrounding environment using A-motility. Even genetically closely related swarms do not merge upon encounter. Swarms collectively lyse prey cells. Predation stimulates cell reversals regulated by a specialized chemosensory system, the Frz pathway, that are manifested as swarm rippling. Starvation induces a cascade of developmental signals (A, B, C, D and E signal) that leads to fruiting body formation and sporulation. Fruiting bodies could potentially disperse via passive or active transport, although this has not been observed. The life cycle can start anew when peripheral rods sense nutrients, triggering the germination of spores and leading to the formation of a new swarm.
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