Determinants of synergistic cell-cell interactions in bacteria

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 2 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint


Benedikt Pauli, Shiksha Ajmera, Christian Kost


Bacteria are ubiquitous and colonize virtually every conceivable habitat on earth. To achieve this, bacteria require different metabolites and biochemical capabilities. Rather than trying to produce all of the needed materials by themselves, bacteria have evolved a range of synergistic interactions, in which they exchange different commodities with other members of their local community. While it is widely acknowledged that synergistic interactions are key to the ecology of both individual bacteria and entire microbial communities, the factors determining their establishment remain poorly understood. Here we provide a comprehensive overview over our current knowledge on the determinants of positive cell-cell interactions among bacteria. Taking a holistic approach, we review the literature on the molecular mechanisms bacteria use to transfer commodities between bacterial cells and discuss to which extent these mechanisms favour or constrain the successful establishment of synergistic cell-cell interactions. In addition, we analyse how these different processes affect the specificity among interaction partners. By drawing together evidence from different disciplines that study the focal question on different levels of organisation, this work not only summarizes the state of the art in this exciting field of research, but also identifies new avenues for future research.



Life Sciences


Co-aggregation, Cooperation, cross-feeding, partner specificity, synergistic interaction


Published: 2023-01-27 00:56

Last Updated: 2023-01-30 13:10

Older Versions

CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement: