Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer).
The evolutionary function of natural competence remains controversial and several hypotheses for a function have been proposed. In this Opinion article, Veening and Blokesch propose that kin-discriminated predation that is linked to natural competence serves as a DNA acquisition strategy and therefore contributes to bacterial evolution.
In this Review, Spaan, van Strijp and Torres discuss the implications of the identification of the cellular receptors for the Staphylococcus aureus bi-component leukocidins, the mechanisms of action of the leukocidins, their diverse roles during pathogenesis and their potential as targets for therapeutic interventions.
Efforts to combat bacterial infections by targeting virulence factors are gaining traction, fuelled by the potential to circumvent the development of antibacterial resistance and recent landmark approvals of antivirulence drugs. Here, Otto and colleagues examine the antivirulence drugs in development, highlighting the most promising targets and strategies, as well as caveats to using this approach.
Type VII protein secretion systems are most widely associated with virulence in bacterial pathogens. A new study reveals a type VII system-secreted nuclease toxin that specifically affects clonally unrelated strains, thus placing type VII secretion directly into the fray of microbial competition.
Persister formation by S. Typhimurium involves the acetylation of aminoacyl-tRNAs by the toxin–antitoxin module toxin TacT, which can be reversed by an antitoxin-independent mechanism that enables S. Typhimurium to resume growth.