Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The bacterial type IV pilus system – a tunable molecular motor

Berenike Maier
Bacteria have evolved surface-exposed polymers called pili with remarkable physical properties. This highlight describes recent advances in the biophysics of type IV pilus systems. They are strong molecular motors whose velocity and force are tunable by external inputs. Coordination of multiple pili for mediating pilus-driven surface motility depends on cell shape, surface interaction, and cooperation with other motors. Rational design of surfaces can control pilus-mediated surface movement and potentially biofilm architecture.
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