Microorganisms are in constant competition for growth niches and environmental resources. In Gram-negative bacteria, contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems link the fate of one cell with its immediate neighbor through touch-dependent, receptor-mediated toxin delivery. Though discovered for their ability to confer a competitive growth advantage, CDI systems also play significant roles in intersibling cooperation, promoting both auto-aggregation and biofilm formation. In this review, we detail the mechanisms of CDI toxin delivery and consider how toxin exchange between isogenic sibling cells could regulate gene expression.

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