Scientists discover unexpected activity in ‘dead’ bacteria

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists from the University of California have shown for the first time that even when bacteria are physiologically “dead” during hibernation, they still monitor environmental changes in order to wake up in time. The study is published in the journal Science.

One of the key secrets of bacterial survival is the ability to transform into encased and dehydrated spores under unfavorable conditions.

Deadly anthrax spreads in the form of spores, and it is in this form that life could have survived on Mars or Venus.

The bacteria in the spores are actually dead – their metabolism is completely stopped. But somehow they know that the conditions have changed and it’s okay to wake up.

To find out how bacteria choose when to wake up, scientists tested thousands of dormant spores of Bacillus subtilis hay bacilli, the world’s most harmless human beings in space.

It turned out that bacteria react to nutrients, provided that there are more and more of them. That is, their organisms can “count” the amount of food.

Scientists also found that the bacteria did not use their usual fuel for this “account”, but the stored energy in the form of potassium ions (K +).

Using a mathematical model, the team showed that each nutrient signal triggered the release of potassium ions. Over time, more and more potassium was released, and the bacterium awakened.

The way spores process information is similar to how neurons work in our brains. However, unlike energy-hungry neurons, spores could do this without any metabolic energy at all, using potassium reserves.


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