Biologists have discovered bacteria that turn animals into “sex bomb”

Биологи открыли бактерии, превращающие животных в "секс-бомбы"

. Biologists in California have discovered an unusual bacteria, which makes the simplest single-celled animals, distant relatives of sea sponges, “lose the shame” and turn into a kind of “sex bomb”, constantly reacting breeding with neighboring cells.

In recent years, biologists have discovered many examples of what parasites are not only using the organism-host for growth, but also directly control its behavior. For example, the virus LdMNPV knows how to make the caterpillars of a silkworm to climb up trees and turn into a “viral bomb”, exploding and infecting everything around it.

In turn, the larvae of flies of mordellid beetle cause the bees to flee the hive and acting like “zombies”, and the fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps have learned to directly manipulate the behavior of ants, causing them to die in a strictly defined point of the anthill in order to infect as many new victims. Cat parasite Toxoplasma gondii is able to “reprogram” the memory of man and mice, making first prone to suicide, and the second is fearless.

Such stories, as told by Nicole king (Nichole King) and Ariel Driver (Arielle Woznica) from the University of California at Berkeley (USA) at the conference of the American society for cell biology in San Francisco, forcing many scientists to consider that there are parasites and symbiotes that control including the sexual behavior of the owners.

So, there is a suspicion that the germ-Wolbachia parasite (Wolbachia) infecting approximately half of the insects, manipulates their sexual behaviour, and forces it to reproduce more often in order to speed up its spread.

The easiest and most striking example of such tactics, the king and the Charioteer was opened by observing the behavior of animals protozoans – single-celled creatures Salpinogoeca rosetta, distant relatives of sea sponges and the alleged “cousins” of the ancestors of all modern multicellular creatures on Earth.

These simple creatures usually lead a collective way of life, forming colonies of several hundred individuals. Periodically the cells merge with each other and share, but in a normal situation they live relatively quiet.

As it turned out, this peace of mind can disrupt the bacteria Vibrio fischeri, emit into the environment a special enzyme, which acts on these simple beings, as expressed by scientists as a true “aphrodisiac”.

The introduction of even small quantities of these molecules into the colony Salpinogoeca rosetta leads to almost instantaneous decay of the colony, and the formation of the “swarms” of mating cells, which are first double its chromosomes and then exchange them with a partner.

Interestingly, similar substances are used by humans and other animals in the process of fusion of sperm and egg and fertilization. Scientists assume that similar microbes-“aphrodisiacs” could have forced our ancestors to stop dividing and switch to sexual reproduction.

Finally, the discovery of such an unusual relationship between bacteria and simple animals suggests that microbes can actually “conduct” such complex behaviours such as procreation in multicellular and single-celled animals.