General Information: First isolated from soil in 1941. Bacterium with a multi-stage lifecycle. M.xanthus is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium. This organism undergoes a complex development and differentiation pathway. When cell density increases, the organism switches to "social motility" where aggregates of cells can gather together into masses termed fruiting bodies that may consist of up to 100 000 cells. This organism is also utilized industrially to produce the anticancer drug epithilone.