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Marine tubeworm metamorphosis induced by arrays of bacterial phage tail-like structures
Shikuma, N.J.; Pilhofer, M.; Weiss, G.L.; Hadfield, M.G.; Jensen, G.J.; Newman, D.K. (2014). Marine tubeworm metamorphosis induced by arrays of bacterial phage tail-like structures. Science (Wash.) 343(6170): 529-533.
In: Science (Washington). American Association for the Advancement of Science: New York, N.Y. ISSN 0036-8075, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Shikuma, N.J.
  • Pilhofer, M.
  • Weiss, G.L.
  • Hadfield, M.G.
  • Jensen, G.J.
  • Newman, D.K.

    Many benthic marine animal populations are established and maintained by free-swimming larvae that recognize cues from surface-bound bacteria to settle and metamorphose. Larvae of the tubeworm Hydroides elegans, an important biofouling agent, require contact with surface-bound bacteria to undergo metamorphosis; however, the mechanisms that underpin this microbially mediated developmental transition have been enigmatic. Here, we show that a marine bacterium, Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea, produces arrays of phage tail–like structures that trigger metamorphosis of H. elegans. These arrays comprise about 100 contractile structures with outward-facing baseplates, linked by tail fibers and a dynamic hexagonal net. Not only do these arrays suggest a novel form of bacterium-animal interaction, they provide an entry point to understanding how marine biofilms can trigger animal development.

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