Hera C Vlamakis

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Bacteria form architecturally complex communities known as biofilms in which cells are held together by an extracellular matrix. Biofilms harbor multiple cell types, and it has been proposed that within biofilms individual cells follow different developmental pathways, resulting in heterogeneous populations. Here we demonstrate cellular differentiation(More)
Bacillus subtilis is a Gram-positive bacterium that is well known for its ability to differentiate into metabolically inactive spores that are highly resistant to environmental stresses. In fact, populations of genetically identical B. subtilis comprise numerous distinct cell types. In addition to spores, cells can become genetically competent, motile,(More)
Biofilms are ubiquitous communities of tightly associated bacteria encased in an extracellular matrix. Bacillus subtilis has long served as a robust model organism to examine the molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation, and a number of studies have revealed that this process is regulated by several integrated pathways. In this Review, we focus on the(More)
Bacillus subtilis is a plant-beneficial Gram-positive bacterium widely used as a biofertilizer. However, relatively little is known regarding the molecular processes underlying this bacterium's ability to colonize roots. In contrast, much is known about how this bacterium forms matrix-enclosed multicellular communities (biofilms) in vitro. Here, we show(More)
Cellular differentiation is triggered by extracellular signals that cause target cells to adopt a particular fate. Differentiation in bacteria typically involves autocrine signaling in which all cells in the population produce and respond to the same signal. Here we present evidence for paracrine signaling in bacterial populations-some cells produce a(More)
Cells within Bacillus subtilis biofilms are held in place by an extracellular matrix that contains cell-anchored amyloid fibres, composed of the amyloidogenic protein TasA. As biofilms age they disassemble because the cells release the amyloid fibres. This release appears to be the consequence of incorporation of D-tyrosine, D-leucine, D-tryptophan and(More)
The Frz chemosensory system controls directed motility in Myxococcus xanthus by regulating cellular reversal frequency. M. xanthus requires the Frz system for vegetative swarming on rich media and for cellular aggregation during fruiting body formation on starvation media. The Frz signal transduction pathway is formed by proteins that share homology with(More)
Initial attempts to use colony morphogenesis as a tool to investigate bacterial multicellularity were limited by the fact that laboratory strains often have lost many of their developmental properties. Recent advances in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying colony morphogenesis have been made possible through the use of undomesticated strains. In(More)
Bacterial biofilms are organized communities of cells living in association with surfaces. The hallmark of biofilm formation is the secretion of a polymeric matrix rich in sugars and proteins in the extracellular space. In Bacillus subtilis, secretion of the exopolysaccharide (EPS) component of the extracellular matrix is genetically coupled to the(More)
Myxococcus xanthus co-ordinates cell movement during its complex life cycle using multiple chemotaxis-like signal transduction pathways. These pathways regulate both type IV pilus-mediated social (S) motility and adventurous (A) motility. During a search for new chemoreceptors, we identified the che4 operon, which encodes homologues to a MCP(More)