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Myxococcus xanthus preying on an E. coli colony

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Published on Mar 19, 2013

Myxococcus xanthus (delta proteobacterium) glides across surfaces using socially coordinated swarms. In this laboratory experiment, M. xanthus cells were near an E. coli colony on a low nutrient surface. While M. xanthus glides out in all directions, cell behavior changes after contact with E. coli. Lysing of E. coli cells can be observed through clearing, and correlates with contact by M.xanthus. Rippling behavior occurs within the E. coli colony as M. xanthus cells methodically oscillate back and forth, lysing their prey and catabolizing prey macromolecules. Cells that leave the E. coli colony either resume normal colonizing behavior, or aggregate into fruiting bodies, where sporulation allows cells to wait patiently for their next meal. Spacial scale, frame is 2 cm wide. Time scale, 7 days real time

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