Gene regulatory factors enable bacteria to kill rivals and establish symbiosis in a squid

Two factors that control the expression of a key gene required by luminescent bacteria to kill competing bacterial cells have been identified. The finding, by researchers at Penn State, sheds light on the molecular mechanisms that enable different strains of bacteria to compete and establish symbiosis in the Hawaiian bobtail squid. Consequently, the study, which appears online in the Journal of Bacteriology, adds to our understanding of how the make-up of a host's microbiome is determined, and may be applicable to more complex microbiomes in humans.