Dr David Whitworth


Dr David Whitworth


Contact Details



My research focuses on the myxobacterial predator Myxococcus xanthus and how it preys upon other microbes. We are studying natural myxobacterial isolates using a variety of genomic, proteomic and phenotypic techniques to identify the genes conferring antimicrobial activity. Particular topics of interest include the predatory vesicles shed by myxobacteria, and myxobacterial signalling pathways and how they alter behaviour in response to a changing environment. In particular, I am interested in the social and predatory myxobacteria, and how they use two-component signalling pathways to co-ordinate group behaviour.


Whitworth, DE & Hodgson, DA 2001, 'Light-induced carotenogenesis in Myxococcus xanthus: evidence that CarS acts as an anti-repressor of CarA' Molecular Microbiology, vol 42, no. 3, pp. 809-819. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2001.02679.x
Evans, AR & Whitworth, DE 2010, 'Correlations between the role, sequence conservation, genomic location and severity of phenotype in myxobacterial developmental genes' FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol 312, no. 1, pp. 40-45. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2010.02092.x
Holmes, AB, Kalvala, S & Whitworth, DE 2010, 'Spatial simulations of myxobacterial development' PLoS Computational Biology, vol 6, no. 2, e1000686. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000686
Cock, PJA & Whitworth, DE 2010, 'Evolution of relative reading frame bias in unidirectional prokaryotic gene overlaps' Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol 27, no. 4, pp. 753-756. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msp302
Whitworth, DE & Cock, PJA 2009, 'Evolution of prokaryotic two-component systems: insights from comparative genomics' Amino Acids, vol 37, no. 3, pp. 459-466. DOI: 10.1007/s00726-009-0259-2
Barakat, M, Ortet, P, Jourlin-Castelli, C, Ansaldi, M, Méjean, V & Whitworth, DE 2009, 'P2CS: a two-component system resource for prokaryotic signal transduction research' BMC Genomics, vol 10, 315. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-10-315
Whitworth, DE, Young, M, McEwan, NR, Newbold, CJ, Smith, SP (ed.) & Spikes, KJ (ed.) 2009, 'Life with little oxygen: lessons from microbes', pp. 19-22, IBERS Knowledge-based Innovations, 2 01 July.
Holmes, AB, Kalvala, S & Whitworth, DE 2009, 'Myxobacteria Motility: a novel 3D model of rippling behaviour in Myxococcus xanthus' Systemics and Informatics World Network, vol 6, pp. 65-70.
Whitworth, DE 2008, 'Genomes and knowledge - a questionable relationship?' Trends in Microbiology, vol 16, no. 11, pp. 512-519. DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2008.08.001
Whitworth, DE, Millard, A, Hodgson, DA & Hawkins, PF 2008, 'Protein-protein interactions between two-component system transmitter and receiver domains of Myxococcus xanthus' Proteomics, vol 8, no. 9, pp. 1839-1842. DOI: 10.1002/pmic.200700544
Whitworth, DE, Holmes, AB, Irvine, AG, Hodgson, DA & Scanlan, DJ 2008, 'Phosphate acquisition components of the Myxococcus xanthus Pho regulon are regulated by both phosphate availability and development' Journal of Bacteriology, vol 190, no. 6, pp. 1997-2003. DOI: 10.1128/JB.01781-07
Whitworth, DE & Cock, PJA 2008, 'Two-component systems of the myxobacteria: structure, diversity and evolutionary relationships' Microbiology, vol 154, no. 2, pp. 360-372. DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.2007/013672-0
Cock, PJA & Whitworth, DE 2007, 'Evolution of prokaryotic two-component system signaling pathways: Gene fusions and fissions' Molecular Biology and Evolution, vol 24, no. 11, pp. 2355-2357. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msm170
Whitworth, DE 2007, Myxobacteria: Multicellularity and Differentiation. 1st edn, American Society for Microbiology.
Whitworth, DE & Cock, PJA 2007, Two-Component Signal Transduction System of the Myxobacteria. in DE Whitworth (ed.), Myxobacteria: Multicellularity and Differentiation. American Society for Microbiology, pp. 169-189.
Cock, PJA & Whitworth, DE 2007, 'Evolution of gene overlaps: relative reading frame bias in prokaryotic two-component system genes' Journal of Molecular Evolution, vol 64, no. 4, pp. 457-462. DOI: 10.1007/s00239-006-0180-1
Schneiker, S, Perlova, O, Kaiser, O, Gerth, K, Alici, A, Altmeyer, MO, Bartels, D, Bekel, T, Beyer, S, Bode, E, Bode, HB, Bolten, CJ, Choudhuri, JV, Doss, S, Elnakady, YA, Frank, B, Gaigalat, L, Goesmann, A, Groeger, C, Gross, F, Jelsbak, L, Jelsbak, L, Kalinowski, J, Kegler, C, Knauber, T, Konietzny, S, Kopp, M, Krause, L, Krug, D, Linke, B, Mahmud, T, Martinez-Arias, R, McHardy, AC, Merai, M, Meyer, F, Mormann, S, Muñoz-Dorado, J, Perez, J, Pradella, S, Rachid, S, Raddatz, G, Rosenau, F, Rückert, C, Sasse, F, Scharfe, M, Schuster, SC, Suen, G, Treuner-Lange, A, Velicer, GJ, Vorhölter, F-J, Weissman, KJ, Welch, RD, Wenzel, SC, Whitworth, DE, Wilhelm, S, Wittmann, C, Blöcker, H, Pühler, A & Müller, R 2007, 'Complete genome sequence of the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum' Nature Biotechnology, vol 25, no. 11, pp. 1281-1289. DOI: 10.1038/nbt1354
Pham, VD, Shebelut, CW, Jose, IR, Hodgson, DA, Whitworth, DE & Singer, M 2006, 'The response regulator PhoP4 is required for late developmental events in Myxococcus xanthus' Microbiology, vol 152, no. 6, pp. 1609-1620. DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.28820-0
Higgs, PI, Cho, K, Whitworth, DE, Evans, LS & Zusman, DR 2005, 'Four Unusual Two-Component Signal Transduction Homologs, RedC to RedF, Are Necessary for Timely Development in Myxococcus xanthus' Journal of Bacteriology, vol 187, no. 23, pp. 8191-8195. DOI: 10.1128/JB.187.23.8191-8195.2005
Whitworth, DE, Bryan, SJ, Berry, AE, McGowan, SJ & Hodgson, DA 2004, 'Genetic dissection of the light-inducible carQRS promoter region of Myxococcus xanthus' Journal of Bacteriology, vol 186, no. 23, pp. 7836-7846. DOI: 10.1128/JB.186.23.7836-7846.2004
Browning, DF, Whitworth, DE & Hodgson, DA 2003, 'Light-induced carotenogenesis in Myxococcus xanthus functional characterization of the ECF sigma factor CarQ and antisigma factor CarR' Molecular Microbiology, vol 48, no. 1, pp. 237-251. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03431.x
Whitworth, D 2017, 'Group Therapy or Mass Suicide? The Sharing of Cellular Damage Between Members of a Bacterial Community' BioEssays. DOI: 10.1002/bies. 201700178
Livingstone, P, Morphew, R & Whitworth, D 2017, 'Myxobacteria are able to prey broadly upon clinically-relevant pathogens, exhibiting a prey range which cannot be explained by phylogeny' Frontiers in Microbiology, vol 8, 1593. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01593
Lloyd, D & Whitworth, D 2017, 'The myxobacterium Myxococcus xanthus can sense and respond to the quorum signals secreted by potential prey organisms' Frontiers in Microbiology, vol 8, 439. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00439
Kara, A, Vickers, M, Swain, M, Whitworth, D & Fernandez-Fuentes, N 2016, 'MetaPred2CS: a sequence-based meta-predictor for protein-protein interactions of prokaryotic two-component system proteins' Bioinformatics, vol 32, no. 21, pp. 3339-3341. DOI: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btw403
Whitworth, DE 2016, 'Recasting a traditional laboratory practical as a “Design-your-own protocol” to teach a universal research skill' Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, vol 44, no. 4, pp. 377-380. DOI: 10.1002/bmb.20948
Edwards Rassner, S, Anesio, A, Girdwood, SE, Hell, K, Gokul, J, Whitworth, D & Edwards, A 2016, 'Can the bacterial community of a High Arctic glacier surface escape viral control?' Frontiers in Microbiology, vol 7, 956. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00956
Whitworth, DE, Slade, SE & Mironas, A 2015, 'Composition of distinct sub-proteomes in Myxococcus xanthus: metabolic cost and amino acid availability' Amino Acids, vol 47, no. 12, pp. 2521-2531. DOI: 10.1007/s00726-015-2042-x
Whitworth, D 2015, 'An off-the-shelf, authentic and versatile undergraduate molecular biology practical course.' Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, vol 43, no. 6, pp. 434-440. DOI: 10.1002/bmb.20893
Whitworth, D & Morgan, B 2015, 'Synergism between bacterial GAPDH and OMVs: disparate mechanisms but co-operative action' Frontiers in Microbiology, vol 6, 1231. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.01231
Whitworth, DE 2015, 'Genome-wide analysis of myxobacterial two-component systems: genome relatedness and evolutionary changes' BMC Genomics, vol 16, no. 1, 780. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-2018-y
Ortet, P, Whitworth, DE, Santaella, C, Achouak, W & Barakat, M 2015, 'P2CS: updates of the prokaryotic two-component systems database' Nucleic Acids Research, vol 43, no. (D1), pp. D536-D541. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gku968
Kara, A, Vickers, M, Swain, M, Whitworth, DE & Fernandez-Fuentes, N 2015, 'Genome-wide prediction of prokaryotic two-component system networks using a sequence-based meta-predictor' BMC Bioinformatics, vol 16, no. 1, 297. DOI: 10.1186/s12859-015-0741-7
Mela, S & Whitworth, DE 2014, 'The fist bump: a more hygienic alternative to the handshake' American Journal of Infection Control, vol 42, no. 8, pp. 916-917. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajic.2014.04.011
Whitworth, DE & Wright, K 2014, 'Online assessment of learning and engagement in university laboratory practicals' British Journal of Educational Technology. DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12193
Barakat, M, Ortet, P & Whitworth, DE 2013, 'P2RP: a Web-based framework for the identification and analysis of regulatory proteins in prokaryotic genomes' BMC Genomics, vol 14, no. 1, pp. 269. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-269
Ortet, P, De Luca, G, Whitworth, DE & Barakat, M 2012, 'P2TF: a comprehensive resource for analysis of prokaryotic transcription factors' BMC Genomics, vol 13, 628. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-628
Evans, AGL, Davey, HM, Cookson, AR, Currinn, H, Cooke-Fox, G, Stanczyk, PJ & Whitworth, DE 2012, 'Predatory activity of Myxococcus xanthus outer-membrane vesicles and properties of their hydrolase cargo' Microbiology, vol 158, no. Pt 11, pp. 2742-2752. DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.060343-0
Whitworth, DE 2011, 'Myxobacterial Vesicles: Death at a Distance?' Advances in Applied Microbiology, vol 75, pp. 1-31. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387046-9.00001-3
Williams, RHN & Whitworth, DE 2010, 'The genetic organisation of prokaryotic two-component system signalling pathways' BMC Genomics, vol 11, no. 720, 720, pp. 1-12. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-11-720
Barakat, M, Ortet, P & Whitworth, DE 2010, 'P2CS: a database of prokaryotic two-component systems' Nucleic Acids Research, vol 39, no. 1, pp. D771-D776. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkq1023