Animals in a bacterial world: opportunities for chemical ecology
This Viewpoint article provides a brief and selective summary of research on the chemical ecology underlying symbioses between bacteria and animals. Animals engage in multiple highly specialized interactions with bacteria that reflect their long coevolutionary history. The article focuses on a few illustrative but hardly exhaustive examples in which bacterially produced small molecules initiate a developmental step with important implications for the evolution of animals, provide signals for the maturation of mammalian immune systems, and furnish chemical defenses against microbial pathogens.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemical Ecology