Setting off a Protozoan Mating Swarm

MCB Professor Nicole King, her graduate student, Arielle Woznica and collaborators have found the first demonstration that bacteria can drive sexual mating in eukaroyotes. "Researchers seeking the evolutionary roots of the animal kingdom have discovered a bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, that acts as an aphrodisiac on a species of protozoan choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of animals, by releasing an enzyme that sends Salpinogoeca rosetta, into a full mating frenzy."


Research that a chemical signal from a bacterium sends this eukaryote, S. rosetta, into a mating frenzy, a finding that raises the possibility that environment bacteria or bacterial symbionts regulate mating in animals. Image courtesy of Arielle Woznica, University of California, Berkeley.