An observation of the initial stage towards a symbiotic relationship

Masahiko Todoriki, Shinya Oki, Shin Ichi Matsuyama, Elizabeth P. Ko-Mitamura, Itaru Urabe, Tetsuya Yomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Two well-characterized and phylogeneticaly different species, Escherichia coli and Dictyostelium discoideum, were used as the model organisms. When the two species were mixed and allowed to grow on minimal agar plates at 22°C, remarkably, the two species achieved a state of coexistence at an average of 2-4 weeks. In addition, the emerged colonies housing the coexisting species had a mucoidal nature that was not observed from its origin. Moreover, the state of coexistence was confirmed to be stable, and so was the mucoidal nature of the emerged colonies. Comparing with the pure E. coli origin, the mucoidal colony showed a significant increase in higher molecular weight extracellular components, with polysaccharides as the major constituent. Qualitative analysis of the monosaccharide contents in the extracellular components of the mucoidal colony revealed not only a significant increase in the glucose content, but also significant amount of additional xylose and galactose. The system permits the initial stages of the development of relationship between two species be captured within a short period of time. This feature, together with being simple and reproducible in laboratory conditions, provides a new model system for the study of symbiosis, especially when initial stages are concerned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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