Communication with nanotubes is the reason for the success of blue-green algae?

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One millimeter of seawater can contain half a million cells. That’s a huge amount of different microbes in a small droplet.

For example, blue-green algae is common: bacteria that need sunlight to produce energy. With only two species, they are responsible for a quarter of the ocean’s energy production. They also affect the presence of important nutrients in the water.

They are very common, but now it seems that we didn’t know everything about them. Scientists have discovered that when cells of both species meet, they communicate with each other by forming a nanotube from one cell to another.

These temporary “bridges” may allow these cells to absorb more nutrients, because they increase their surface area. It is also possible that they use communication to exchange DNA, proteins and other materials with each other, something that has also been seen in other bacterial species.

Nanotubes could explain the success of blue-green algae in places where there are few nutrients naturally. In any case, it provides researchers with important information about the evolution and functioning of these types of marine organisms.

Read more about the research here: Direct interaction between marine cyanobacteria mediated by nanotubes

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Megan Vasquez

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