Researchers at Princeton University have found a virus called VP882 that can eavesdrop on the communications between bacteria. The virus senses a bacterial signaling molecule.
The virus can make one choice, explained Bassler: it can remain inside the host, where it stays under the radar, or, kill it by generating tons of viral particles that then burst out of the host cell. The option to release viral particles, and destroy the host, comes with a risk, however. "If there are no other hosts nearby, then the virus and all its kin just died," she noted.
VP882 can mitigate that risk by listening in on bacterial communication; when the microbes are signaling that they're in a crowd, the virus has a good chance of finding a new host when it kills the one it has. "It's brilliant and insidious!" exclaimed Bassler.
Bassler had already found that bacteria are able to communicate with one another, establishing a quorum when a bacterial community has to act together. It was a surprise for her to find that viruses can eavesdrop on the microbial quorum-sensing communication.
"The bugs are getting bugged," she joked. "Plus, Justin's work shows that these quorum-sensing molecules are conveying information across kingdom boundaries."
How did Viruses learn that feat ? There would be no life without Viruses. And there would be no Viruse without life. This is another Origin of Life enigma, rarely appreciated. And another line of evidence that Life is an all or nothing business.
Genesis in the Bible is being warranted again !!
A Host-Produced Quorum-Sensing Autoinducer Controls a Phage Lysis-Lysogeny Decision