Posts Tagged ‘marine bacterium’
Poor old Vibrio vulnificus, it just can’t catch a break. This Gram-negative marine bacterium (and occasional human pathogen) is the first species found to be infected by both a virus and a predatory bacterium.
Let’s step back a moment and look at the smaller picture. Just like humans, bacteria are regularly infected by viruses. These viruses are known as bacteriophages, and they are the most abundant and diverse organisms on Earth: nobody really knows how many exist, but estimates suggest that there might be as many as 1031 on the planet (that’s more viruses than there are stars in the universe). Sometimes, after infection, the viruses integrate their genetic material into the host bacterial chromosome but remain dormant; other times, they force the bacteria to make multiple copies of themselves until the host cell can’t take any more and explodes.