The bacterial armoury

In many of my previous posts I talked about how bacteria fight each other using one of their many killing devices (for example here or here). I also described a few strategies of how bacteria deliver toxins into competing bacteria (like here or here). And I always say that these toxins are the ones that finally kill the prey bacterium. So the questions I want to answer this week are: what does this toxin do once it reached the prey bacterium? How does a toxin kill a bacterium? And why is the toxin-producing bacterium not killed by the toxin? Please … Continue reading The bacterial armoury

Bacteria firing powerful spikes

This week we will talk about one of my favourite bacterial devices. It is the bacterial killing machine, the type 6 secretion system, that I explained in detail in my very first post Bacteria killing each other. If you don’t remember well what is was, it is worth going back to refresh your memory, as we’re now looking closer into this fascinating nanomachine. This post is based on a journal article which was just published and which I would like to share with you here. It was also the longest and most tedious chapter of my thesis, so I have … Continue reading Bacteria firing powerful spikes

Bacteria killing each other

Most people have only ever heard of those bad bacteria that make us sick and give us diarrhoea or pneumonia. However, few people actually know that those little bugs are all around us. They live in every corner of our body, they can be basically found everywhere in nature, be it in the forest, in the sea or in volcanoes. They are also amazing flatmates, sitting on your toilet, in the kitchen or in your bed. Now for example, imagine an environment within our body which is full of nutrients and metals, like our gut. A real paradise for bacteria … Continue reading Bacteria killing each other