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Review

Friends or Foes—Microbial Interactions in Nature

Institute of General Microbiology, Kiel University, 24118 Kiel, Germany
Academic Editor: Katsutoshi Hori
Biology 2021, 10(6), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060496
Received: 11 May 2021 / Revised: 27 May 2021 / Accepted: 31 May 2021 / Published: 2 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology)
Microorganisms like bacteria, archaea, fungi, microalgae, and viruses mostly form complex interactive networks within the ecosystem rather than existing as single planktonic cells. Interactions among microorganisms occur between the same species, with different species, or even among entirely different genera, families, or even domains. These interactions occur after environmental sensing, followed by converting those signals to molecular and genetic information, including many mechanisms and classes of molecules. Comprehensive studies on microbial interactions disclose key strategies of microbes to colonize and establish in a variety of different environments. Knowledge of the mechanisms involved in the microbial interactions is essential to understand the ecological impact of microbes and the development of dysbioses. It might be the key to exploit strategies and specific agents against different facing challenges, such as chronic and infectious diseases, hunger crisis, pollution, and sustainability.
Microorganisms are present in nearly every niche on Earth and mainly do not exist solely but form communities of single or mixed species. Within such microbial populations and between the microbes and a eukaryotic host, various microbial interactions take place in an ever-changing environment. Those microbial interactions are crucial for a successful establishment and maintenance of a microbial population. The basic unit of interaction is the gene expression of each organism in this community in response to biotic or abiotic stimuli. Differential gene expression is responsible for producing exchangeable molecules involved in the interactions, ultimately leading to community behavior. Cooperative and competitive interactions within bacterial communities and between the associated bacteria and the host are the focus of this review, emphasizing microbial cell–cell communication (quorum sensing). Further, metagenomics is discussed as a helpful tool to analyze the complex genomic information of microbial communities and the functional role of different microbes within a community and to identify novel biomolecules for biotechnological applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: microorganisms; interaction; symbiosis; metaorganism; metagenomics; biofilms; quorum sensing; quorum quenching microorganisms; interaction; symbiosis; metaorganism; metagenomics; biofilms; quorum sensing; quorum quenching
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MDPI and ACS Style

Weiland-Bräuer, N. Friends or Foes—Microbial Interactions in Nature. Biology 2021, 10, 496. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060496

AMA Style

Weiland-Bräuer N. Friends or Foes—Microbial Interactions in Nature. Biology. 2021; 10(6):496. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060496

Chicago/Turabian Style

Weiland-Bräuer, Nancy. 2021. "Friends or Foes—Microbial Interactions in Nature" Biology 10, no. 6: 496. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10060496

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