Bacteria Make Good Linguists and Electricians | The Institute for Creation Research
Bacteria Make Good Linguists and Electricians

Our scientific forefathers thought of germs as simple living things. They were oh, so wrong. Apparently, when it comes to living things, small does not mean simple. Two new discoveries about germs that live in or on human bodies take microbe ingenuity to a new level.
 
In one report published in PLOS Pathogens, researchers under the direction of Luisa Hiller at Carnegie Mellon University decoded a germ’s molecular message.1 Pneumococcus2 bacteria can live happily in your throat until they decide to unite. When they build walled colonies, they can cause pneumonia.
 
But they can’t construct their mucous shield without first discussing their plan. Bacteria talk.
 
Hiller’s lab is compiling the first bacterial dictionary. Lead author of the PLOS Pathogens paper, Surya Aggarwal, described the chemical word encoded in a peptide he named BriC. Essentially, BriC carries the message, “Make more biofilm.” The cells typically speak this word to one another in a growth stage called competence. During competence, neighboring cells open their chemical doors and can even exchange genetic instructions.
 
The Biological Sciences lab at Carnegie Mellon found another surprise. MCS News wrote, “In a final twist, the researchers also found that bacteria may also be making semantic changes to their words.” The bacteria can make BriC outside of competence, make more BriC, and make it more often. What are the odds that chance-based processes coordinated three adjustments to enhance biofilms?
 
A second find shocked its discoverers. Every day, human gut bacteria can transport electrons outside of their cells. Here’s why that impresses.
 
Scientists have long known that some bacteria in mineral-rich environments transport individual electrons to outside minerals like iron oxide. For example, they use iron oxide as an electron acceptor to keep their vital energy processes moving along. But scientists had pigeonholed these mineral-based bacteria as the only ones capable of moving electrons outside of themselves. The discovery that the common gut bacteria Listeria monocytogenes do it too jolts the mind.
 
We don’t eat iron oxide, so what accepts electrons inside our guts? The species-specific layering of intestinal bacteria comes to mind. Each layer contributes its own expertise to nutrient processing. One layer discusses its needs with gut cells. Another layer coordinates its receivables and deliverables as nutrients pass (or don’t pass) through the gut.3 Could these bacteria transfer electrons and coded messages to one another?
 
A Nature summary said,

The bacterium might encounter conditions in which minerals represent an attractive electron acceptor, but it seems more probable that the highly reactive flavins in this pathway [inside the bacteria] aid electron transfer to compounds [outside the bacteria] such as organic soil components, disulfide groups on proteins or even other microbes.4
 

Common gut bacteria reflect expertise in linguistics and electricity. In other words, they reflect the work of a genius. Tweet: Common gut bacteria reflect expertise in linguistics and electricity. In other words, they reflect the work of a genius.

Bacteria Make Good Linguists and Electricians: http://www.icr.org/article/bacteria-make-good-linguists-and-electricians/

@ICRscience @icrbthomas

#Science

The idea that free-living microscopic cells contain enough molecular precision to manage individual electrons boggles the mind. Human engineers dream of harnessing such miniaturized manipulators, and the same goes for the precise chemical languages these bacteria speak. The origin of bacteria’s shocking ability to transfer these electrons to neighboring microbes in a coordinated effort to thrive far exceeds what nature alone could accomplish. It points toward design.5 Like those bacteria that transfer electrons through protein nanowires in sea-floor mud,6 common gut bacteria reflect expertise in linguistics and electricity. In other words, they reflect the work of a genius.
 
References
1. Aggarwal, S. D. et al. 2018. Function of BriC peptide in the pneumococcal competence and virulence portfolio. PLOS Pathogens. 14 (10): e1007328
2. Steptococcus pneumoniaae.
3. Anderson, K. L. 2003. The complex world of gastrointestinal bacteria. Canadian Journal of Animal Science. 83 (3): 409-427.
4. Cahoon, L. A., and Freitag, N. E. 2018. The electrifying energy of gut microbes. Nature. 562 (7725): 43-44.
5. Bacteria and sorghum roots offer another recent example of this cross-talk for mutual benefit. See Guliuzza, R. Sorghum and Bacteria Cooperative Design. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org October 16, 2018, accessed October 16, 2018.
6. Thomas, B. Bacteria Share Metabolism through Nanowires. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org March 10, 2010, accessed October 16, 2018.
*Brian Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

The Latest
NEWS
Was a Franken-Fish “Created”?
In 2020, Hungarian zoologists described the hybridization of a Russian sturgeon and American paddlefish.1 Some sources have reported the scientists...

NEWS
"100-Million-Year-Old" Bacteria?
Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have recovered what they claim are 100-million-year-old microbes. Drilling 74.5...

NEWS
Origin of Tectonic Plates Best Explained by the Flood
A new study published in Nature Communications claims to have figured out how the tectonic plates may have originated.1 It’s been over...

NEWS
Give Today and Support Biblical Creation Ministry
North Texas Giving Day is here once again! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and our Dallas Museum—the...

NEWS
Mammalian Brains Prove Evolutionary Disconnect
The evolutionary model of brain development predicted that the complexity of neural connectivity should have increased as brains became larger and the...

NEWS
North Texas Giving Day Next Week!
North Texas Giving Day is almost here! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and the ICR Discovery Center for Science...

NEWS
Celebrating One Year at the ICR Discovery Center
Thank you to all who joined us for the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History’s First Anniversary Celebration! ICR staff enjoyed meeting...

NEWS
New Evidence Hurts Feathered Dinosaur Theory
Is a dinosaur still a dinosaur if it has flight feathers? A new study points to some fascinating evidence that contradicts the idea of feathered dinosaurs...

NEWS
New Planetarium Show: Exploring Deep Space
The ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History is celebrating its first anniversary since the Grand Opening on September 2, 2019. To commemorate...

NEWS
Inside September 2020 Acts & Facts
What's the story behind ICR's new President? What milestone are we celebrating this month at the ICR Discovery Center? How do comets affirm...