Microbes and Environments
Online ISSN : 1347-4405
Print ISSN : 1342-6311
ISSN-L : 1342-6311
A Single Shot of Vesicles
Masanori ToyofukuYousuke KikuchiAzuma Taoka
Author information

2022 Volume 37 Issue 6 Article ID: ME22083


Bacteria communicate through signaling molecules that coordinate group behavior. Hydrophobic signals that do not diffuse in aqueous environments are used as signaling molecules by several bacteria. However, limited information is currently available on the mechanisms by which these molecules are transported between cells. Membrane vesicles (MVs) with diverse functions play important roles in the release and delivery of hydrophobic signaling molecules, leading to differences in the dynamics of signal transportation from those of free diffusion. Studies on Paracoccus denitrificans, which produces a hydrophobic long-chain N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL), showed that signals were loaded into MVs at a concentration with the potential to trigger the quorum sensing (QS) response with a “single shot” to the cell. Furthermore, stimulating the formation of MVs increased the release of signals from the cell; therefore, a basic understanding of MV formation is important. Novel findings revealed the formation of MVs through different routes, resulting in the production of different types of MVs. Methods such as high-speed atomic force microscopy (AFM) phase imaging allow the physical properties of MVs to be analyzed at a nanometer resolution, revealing their heterogeneity. In this special minireview, we introduce the role of MVs in bacterial communication and highlight recent findings on MV formation and their physical heterogeneity by referring to our research. We hope that this minireview will provide basic information for understanding the functionality of MVs in ecological systems.

Content from these authors
© 2022 by Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology / Taiwan Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Plant Microbe Interactions / Japanese Society for Extremophiles.
Next article