Our laboratory group studies fruiting body development and
motility of the bacterium Myxococcus xanthus
. When starved,
these bacteria aggregate to form fruiting bodies containing
about 100,000 cells. The fruiting bodies develop through a
regular series of morphological steps, ending with the differ-
entiation of rod-shaped vegetative cells into spherical, thick-
walled, spores. At particular times during this process, new
proteins are synthesized and signals are passed among cells.
Development depends on the ability of the bacteria to move
across surfaces by means of gliding motility.