Document Detail

Bistability, epigenetics, and bet-hedging in bacteria.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18537474     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Clonal populations of microbial cells often show a high degree of phenotypic variability under homogeneous conditions. Stochastic fluctuations in the cellular components that determine cellular states can cause two distinct subpopulations, a property called bistability. Phenotypic heterogeneity can be readily obtained by interlinking multiple gene regulatory pathways, effectively resulting in a genetic logic-AND gate. Although switching between states can occur within the cells' lifetime, cells can also pass their cellular state over to the next generation by a mechanism known as epigenetic inheritance and thus perpetuate the phenotypic state. Importantly, heterogeneous populations can demonstrate increased fitness compared with homogeneous populations. This suggests that microbial cells employ bet-hedging strategies to maximize survival. Here, we discuss the possible roles of interlinked bistable networks, epigenetic inheritance, and bet-hedging in bacteria.
Jan-Willem Veening; Wiep Klaas Smits; Oscar P Kuipers
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annual review of microbiology     Volume:  62     ISSN:  0066-4227     ISO Abbreviation:  Annu. Rev. Microbiol.     Publication Date:  2008  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-09-12     Completed Date:  2008-12-04     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372370     Medline TA:  Annu Rev Microbiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  193-210     Citation Subset:  IM    
Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Bacillus subtilis / genetics,  physiology
Bacteria / genetics*
Biofilms / growth & development
Epigenesis, Genetic*
Escherichia coli / genetics,  physiology
Gene Regulatory Networks
Genomic Instability
Lac Operon
Models, Genetic
Spores, Bacterial / genetics
Transformation, Genetic
Grant Support
//Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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