Escherichia coli bacteria It is one of the best studied microorganisms in the world. However, it could still leave scientists stunned. As specialists from the University of Texas and the University of Delaware discovered, E. coli has a special memory systemThis allows it to “remember” different types of experiences for several hours and even for several generations.
The scientific team agrees This type of bacterial memory was discovered for the first time. At the same time, they stress that it is not like human memory. They suggest that bacterial memory involves the influence of past experiences on current “decision making” in microbes.
During the experiments, scientists exposed E. coli bacteria to various environmental factors. In this way, they wanted to verify the conditions that would lead to their formation Rojo bacteria. – It is the behavior in which bacteria gather to efficiently search for (migrate to) a suitable environment.
It turns out that it is inside the cells Iron was the strongest factor causing bacterial migration. The study found that low iron levels forced microbes to move quickly to places where iron levels were higher. In contrast, if bacteria immediately “land” in an environment with a high level of this element, they live a more sedentary lifestyle.
According to the scientists, the first generation of E. coli migrated to higher levels of iron intuitively. However, it was the next generation that was created from this bloodline Faster and “more efficient in the swarm” From their parents. So the bacteria conveyed their experience: “In order to survive, you have to look for iron quickly.”
This type of memory was passed on to at least four subsequent generations of bacteria. These bacteria are formed as a result of the mother cell dividing into two other cells. Memory is naturally lost in the seventh generation, but can be easily “recovered” if artificially enhanced.
The researchers did not discover anything during the study Molecular mechanismWhich would be responsible for this unusual memory system, and its inheritance mechanism has not been revealed. The proposed solution is to generally state that there is a certain level of ongoing conditioning behind the entire process. At the same time, specialists point out that the regulation of “on” and “off” of individual genes does not fully explain such mechanisms.
Scientists confirm this Iron-based memory systemIt can help bacteria adapt to unfavorable environmental conditions or to the action of antibiotics. An E. coli cell can divide in just 30 minutes, so the discovered ability to transfer experiences is undoubtedly a huge evolutionary advantage.
– Before the appearance of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere, Early cellular life used iron in many cellular processes. Iron plays a key role not only in the origin of life on Earth, but also in its evolution. It makes sense for cells to use them in this way. Ultimately, the more we know about how bacteria behave, the easier it will be to combat them, Souvik Bhattacharya said.
The results of the research were published in a scientific journal With people.
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