The cells also undergo a cellular morphogenesis converting to metabolically quiescent, resistant myxospores.
The myxobacteria characteristically move by gliding over a solid surface, rather than by flagellar-mediated swimming. The mechanism of their gliding motility is unknown.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of myxobacterial biology is that their entire life cycle of growth and development is pervaded by cell-cell interactions. They have been referred to as "social bacteria", and the nature of these interactions has been the subject of much of contemporary myxobacterial research.
There has been a great deal of research on the myxobacteria over the past 30 or so years and there is now a considerable body of knowlege about their basic physiology, biochemistry and genetics. It is interesting, however, that the behavioral phenomena that intrigued and attracted many of the early and present workers on the myxobacteria remain a mystery. Thus, the mechanism of gliding motility, the nature of fruiting body morphogenesis, the nature and function or rippling, the process of aggregation, the mechanism of social motility and the functions of social and adventurous motility, - all these remain neither explained nor understood.
There has been little defining work on the ecology of the myxobacteria. Such questions as the interplay between their developmental cycle and their environmental circumstances remain undefined.
Many enigmas have emerged as a result of contemporary research. What is the function of their huge genome (9,454-9,870 kbp)? What is the function of their mysterious msDNA? These and many other questions remain as challenges for future generations of myxobacteriologists.
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