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
CREATION PODCAST
TThe Secrets of the Cell | The Creation Podcast: Episode 29
Cells are microscopic organisms that are essential to life. What is a cell? What goes on inside of a cell? Did all life come from a single cell? Join...

NEWS
Fossil Footprints Fit Flood Ice-Age Model
Anthropologists Thomas Urban (Cornell University) and Daron Duke (Far Western Anthropological Research Group) recently found preserved human footprints...

NEWS
Deep-Sea Lobster Microbiome
Research continues regarding complex and amazing microbiomes found on or within a variety of creatures.1 The microbiome is a microbial community...

NEWS
"Massively Exciting" Fossil Find
Now this is exciting: “Geologists have found the fossil of the earliest known animal predator. The 560-million-year-old specimen is the first of...

NEWS
Copulation Didn't Kill the Frogs, the Flood Did
Evolutionary scientists recently studied 168 frog fossils from central Germany, concluding that the frogs all drowned while aggressively mating. They claim...

CREATION PODCAST
What Can We Learn From Fossils? | The Creation Podcast: Episode...
Is evolution seen in the fossil record? Why are fossilized terrestrial animals found buried with marine creatures? What conditions were needed to form...

NEWS
Be Not Deceived: Spiritually Train to Overcome Secular Science...
Thorough instruction and discipline are the hallmark qualities of a strong military training program. Well-trained soldiers can think on their feet, adapt...

CREATION.LIVE PODCAST
Jurassic World: Dominion - Fun Movie, Bad Science | Creation.Live...
Covered in feathers, running faster than cars, and living in cold climates...these are just a few of the ideas introduced in Jurassic World: Dominion....

NEWS
CET Model in Plants Is Clearly Seen
Plant scientists have known for decades that plants aren’t just static entities. The half-million or more species of plants in the world display...

NEWS
Half-Billion-Year-Old Fossil Brains?
Once again, a recent and remarkable fossil discovery has been made challenging evolutionary theory. A strange arthropod (i.e. a radiodont) has been found...