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Sociobiology of Communicationan interdisciplinary perspective$
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Patrizia d'Ettorre and David P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.001.0001

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Communication in bacteria

Communication in bacteria

(p.11) CHAPTER 2 Communication in bacteria
Sociobiology of Communication

Stephen P. Diggle

Stuart A. West

Andy Gardner

Ashleigh S. Griffin

Oxford University Press

The term quorum sensing (QS) is used to describe communication between bacterial cells, whereby a coordinated population response is controlled by diffusible signal molecules. QS has not only been described between cells of the same species (intraspecies), but also between bacterial species (interspecies) and between bacteria and higher organisms (interkingdom). This chapter compares the evolutionary literature on animal signalling and cooperation with the microbiological literature on QS, and discusses whether bacterial QS can be considered true signalling. From an evolutionary perspective, intraspecies signalling can be explained using models such as kin selection, but explanations become more difficult when communication is described between species. It is likely that this often involves QS molecules being used as ‘cues’ by other species as a guide to future action or as coercing molecules whereby one species will ‘coerce’ another into a response.

Keywords:   quorum sensing, bacterial cells, cheating, social evolution, intraspecies, interkingdom, kin selection

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