Research

Zombie mode: scientists have discovered a new state of bacteria

Despite its seemingly marginalsimplicity, bacteria produce very tricky coping strategies. For example, they can go to sleep to wait out the danger, or sacrifice themselves to save their colony. It turned out that in addition to activity and rest, bacteria also have another condition resembling the behavior of zombies. It helps them calmly survive long periods of lack of nutrients, but even maintain the ability to multiply.

The essence of the state of bacteria discovered by scientists isin slowing down all metabolic processes occurring in them. About the new strategy of behavior it became known during the study of the harmless bacteria Bacillus subtilis, which, as is known, under extreme conditions, become inactive and turn into endospores. Some mutant forms of bacteria are not able to be at rest - this was the reason for studying another possible strategy and its discovery.

According to biologist Leendert Hamoen, he and histhe group revealed clear differences between active and passive states and the zombie mode. As a rule, Bacillus subtilis are stick-shaped, but it has been observed that hungry mutant variants shrink almost to a spherical shape. All processes occurring inside the bacteria slow down, but do not stop until the end. Bacteria even continue to multiply, but division occurs not once every forty minutes, but once every four days. It is hundreds of times slower than usual.

The new state is called oligotrophicgrowth, which means low nutrient development. Scientists are very alarmed by the fact that in such a state, bacteria are less susceptible to antibiotics. If more dangerous microbes can enter such a state, it may mean that they are able to use this strategy for protective purposes. However, the news has a good side - by examining this state, researchers will be able to create more effective drugs.

Want to know more about science and technology news? Be sure to subscribe to our channel in Yandex. Dzen, where you can find materials that are not on the site!