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Bacterial cooperation at the individual cell level

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 BactInd project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the BactInd project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "BactInd" about.

all    societies    evolutionary    division    aeruginosa    insights    selfish    trustworthy    individual    engage    collective    subverted    cooperation    life    opportunistic    genome    small    solutions    entail    goods    group    averaged    explore    fast    stability    interfere    distinguish    tip    first    decision    rely    millions    comprehend    organisms    biofilms    bacteria    units    split    human    undermined    good    conflict    easily    functional    designing    humans    balance    genes    communication    therapies    labour    remediation    pseudomonas    cooperate    cells    reveal    secretion    advantage    little    disadvantage    public    protective    infections    optimal    cultivatable    cheating    recognition    cell    successful    contributions    tug    dimensions    biologists    issue    stable    levels    forms    shareable    bacterial    cheats    virulence    replicating    animals    genetic    asking    imperceptible    inducing    biological    war    pathogen    tackle   

Project "BactInd" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RAMISTRASSE 71
city: Zürich
postcode: 8006

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙994˙981 €
 EC max contribution 1˙994˙981 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-09-01   to  2021-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITAT ZURICH CH (Zürich) coordinator 1˙994˙981.00


 Project objective

All levels of life entail cooperation and conflict. Genes cooperate to build up a functional genome, which can yet be undermined by selfish genetic elements. Humans and animals cooperate to build up societies, which can yet be subverted by cheats. There is a long-standing interest among biologists to comprehend the tug-of-war between cooperation and conflict. Recently, research on bacteria was successful in identifying key factors that can tip the balance in favour or against cooperation. Bacteria cooperate through the formation of protective biofilms, cell-to-cell communication, and the secretion of shareable public goods. However, the advantage of bacteria being fast replicating units, easily cultivatable in high numbers, is also their disadvantage: they are small and imperceptible, such that measures of cooperation typically rely on averaged responses across millions of cells. Thus, we still know very little about bacterial cooperation at the biological relevant scale: the individual cell level. Here, I present research using the secretion of public goods in the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to tackle this issue. I will explore new dimensions of bacterial cooperation by asking whether bacteria engage in collective-decision making to find optimal group-level solutions; whether bacteria show division of labour to split up work efficiently; and whether bacteria can distinguish between trustworthy and cheating partners. The proposed research will make two significant contributions. First, it will reveal whether bacteria engage in complex forms of cooperation (collective decision-making, division of labour, partner recognition), which have traditionally been associated with higher organisms. Second, it will provide insights into the evolutionary stability of cooperation – key knowledge for designing therapies that interfere with virulence-inducing public goods in infections, and the design of stable public-good based remediation processes.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Chiara Rezzoagli, Elisa T. Granato, Rolf Kümmerli
In-vivo microscopy reveals the impact of Pseudomonas aeruginosa social interactions on host colonization
published pages: 2403-2414, ISSN: 1751-7362, DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0442-8
The ISME Journal 13/10 2019-11-07
2019 Siobhán O\'Brien, Rolf Kümmerli, Steve Paterson, Craig Winstanley, Michael A. Brockhurst
Transposable temperate phages promote the evolution of divergent social strategies in Pseudomonas aeruginosa populations
published pages: 20191794, ISSN: 0962-8452, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1794
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 286/1912 2019-11-07
2019 Santosh Sathe, Anugraha Mathew, Kirsty Agnoli, Leo Eberl, Rolf Kümmerli
Genetic architecture constrains exploitation of siderophore cooperation in the bacterium Burkholderia cenocepacia
published pages: , ISSN: 2056-3744, DOI: 10.1002/evl3.144
Evolution Letters 3 2019-11-07
2017 Michael Weigert, Rolf Kümmerli
The physical boundaries of public goods cooperation between surface-attached bacterial cells
published pages: 20170631, ISSN: 0962-8452, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0631
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284/1858 2019-06-18
2018 Elisa Granato, Christoph Ziegenhain, Rasmus L Marvig, Rolf Kümmerli
Low spatial structure and selection against secreted virulence factors attenuates pathogenicity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa
published pages: 2907–2918, ISSN: 1751-7362, DOI: 10.1038/s41396-018-0231-9
The ISME Journal 2019-05-27
2019 Konstanze Schiessl, Adin Ross-Gillespie, Dan Cornforth, Michael Weigert, Sam Brown, Martin Ackermann, Rolf Kümmerli
Individual- versus group-optimality in the production of secreted bacterial compounds
published pages: , ISSN: 0014-3820, DOI: 10.1111/evo.13701
Evolution 2019-05-27
2018 Anna Dragoš, Heiko Kiesewalter, Marivic Martin, Chih-Yu Hsu, Raimo Hartmann, Tobias Wechsler, Carsten Eriksen, Susanne Brix, Knut Drescher, Nicola Stanley-Wall, Rolf Kümmerli, Ákos T. Kovács
Division of Labor during Biofilm Matrix Production
published pages: 1903-1913.e5, ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.046
Current Biology 28/12 2019-05-27
2018 Anne Leinweber, Michael Weigert, Rolf Kümmerli
The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa senses and gradually responds to interspecific competition for iron
published pages: 1515-1528, ISSN: 0014-3820, DOI: 10.1111/evo.13491
Evolution 72/7 2019-05-27
2019 Tobias Wechsler, Rolf Kümmerli, Akos Dobay
Understanding policing as a mechanism of cheater control in cooperating bacteria
published pages: , ISSN: 1010-061X, DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13423
Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2019-05-27

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