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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Directed Binding of Gliding Bacterium, Mycoplasma mobile, Shown by Detachment Force and Bond Lifetime

Akihiro Tanaka, Daisuke Nakane, Masaki Mizutani, Takayuki Nishizaka, Makoto Miyata

Mycoplasma mobile, a fish-pathogenic bacterium, features a protrusion that enables it to glide smoothly on solid surfaces at a velocity of up to 4.5 µm s−1 in the direction of the protrusion. M. mobile glides by a repeated catch-pull-release of sialylated oligosaccharides fixed on a solid surface by hundreds of 50-nm flexible “legs” sticking out from the protrusion. This gliding mechanism may be explained by a possible directed binding of each leg with sialylated oligosaccharides, by which the leg can be detached more easily forward than backward. In the present study, we used a polystyrene bead held by optical tweezers to detach a starved cell at rest from a glass surface coated with sialylated oligosaccharides and concluded that the detachment force forward is 1.6- to 1.8-fold less than that backward, which may be linked to a catch bond-like behavior of the cell. These results suggest that this directed binding has a critical role in the gliding mechanism.

DOI
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