Friday Squid Blogging: Researching Squid Bacteria
Intriguingly, that gene is the one that enables the bacteria to form a biofilm, the tightly woven matrix of “slime” which allows bacterial colonies to behave in many ways like a single organism. “The biofilm might be critical for adhering to the light organ, or telling the host that the correct symbiont has arrived,” says Mandel.
Biofilms also seem to be important in another kind of bacterial invasion of animals: disease. Some normally harmless lung bacteria can turn into a nasty infection in humans by forming a biofilm, for example, while many immune defences are aimed at preventing biofilms. And certain bacteria, like Vibrio fischeri, typically invade only certain species and tissues.