The First in the World to Show Interaction of Related Bacillus Subtilis Bacteria Strains

This discovery by a team of researchers from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana and their colleagues from Harvard University opens new possibilities in the development of probiotics and biofertilizers.

Authors: Polonca Štefanič, Barbara Kraigher, Nick Lyons, Roberto Kolter, Ines Mandić-Mulec

A team of researchers from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana (Polonca Štefanič, Barbara Kraigher and Ines Mandić-Mulec) and their colleagues from Harvard University (Nick Lyons and Roberto Kolter) were the first to show the world that the Bacillus subtilis bacteria strains are implementing kin discrimination. This means that only the swarms of the most closely related strains interact. This research and its findings were published in the renowned journal PNAS and triggered exceptional interest in the international research community, since the descriptions of kin discrimination in microorganisms are extremely rare, and no one had yet examined the kin discrimination in sympatric bacteria populations.

The genetic profile of the Bacillus subtilis bacteria is very well known, which is why it serves as an excellent model for further research of mechanisms and the meaning of kin discrimination for the evolution and territoriality of bacteria, as well as for the development of new probiotics and biofertilizers, which often contain the Bacillus family bacteria. Despite its recent publication, the article was already cited and named as an exceptional achievement in a commentary (O.M. Gilbert, “Microscale kin discrimination in famous soil bacterium”) in the journal PNAS and SubtiWiki network.

Source: ŠTEFANIČ, Polonca, KRAIGHER, Barbara, LYONS, Nicholas A., KOLTER, Roberto, MANDIĆ-MULEC, Ines. Kin discrimination between sympatric Bacillus subtilis isolates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, 2015, vol. 112, p. 14042-14047, (IF= 9.69).