Bacteria Use Decoys to Buy Time
What might look like an alien spaceship landing on an asteroid is actually a tiny phage virus caught in a trap laid by its prey. The spheres are vesicles, or small, spherical pieces of membrane made by bacteria. When faced with phage or antibiotic attack, bacteria produce large amounts of these vesicles to act as decoys. Duke scientist Meta Kuehn, who is interested in the myriad of ways that bacteria use vesicles, discovered along with her lab, that these vesicles contribute to innate bacterial defense, allowing bacteria to evade natural predators such as phage, or man-made antimicrobials such as antibiotics.