Bacteria can exist in metabolically inactive states that allow them to survive conditions that are not conducive for growth. Such dormant cells may sense when conditions have improved and re-initiate growth, lest they be outcompeted by their neighbours. Growing bacteria turn over and release large quantities of their cell walls into the environment. Drawing from recent work on the germination of Bacillus subtilis spores, we propose that many microorganisms exit dormancy in response to cell wall muropeptides.
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We thank H. Shuman for comments on the manuscript. Work from our laboratory is supported by NIH GM81368 and by a Senior Scholar Award in Aging from the Ellison Medical Foundation to J.D.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Dworkin, J., Shah, I. Exit from dormancy in microbial organisms. Nat Rev Microbiol 8, 890–896 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro2453
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