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University of Basel

26 October 2017

Bacteria Have a Sense of Touch

Sense of touch: Swimming bacteria can sense surfaces with the flagellum.
Sense of touch: Swimming bacteria can sense surfaces with the flagellum. (Image: University of Basel, Biozentrum)

Although bacteria have no sensory organs in the classical sense, they are still masters in perceiving their environment. A research group at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum has now discovered that bacteria not only respond to chemical signals, but also possess a sense of touch. In their recent publication in “Science”, the researchers demonstrate how bacteria recognize surfaces and respond to this mechanical stimulus within seconds. This mechanism is also used by pathogens to colonize and attack their host cells.

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