Bidirectional bacterial gliding motility powered by the collective transport of cell surface proteins

Hirofumi Wada, Daisuke Nakane, Hsuan Yi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The gliding motility of Flavobacterium johnsoniae is driven by moving surface adhesive proteins. Recently, these motility components were observed to travel along a closed loop on the cell surface. The mechanism by which such moving surface adhesins give rise to cell motion remains unknown. On the basis of the unique motility properties of F. johnsoniae, we present a generic model for bidirectional motion of rigidly coupled adhesins, which are propelled in opposite directions. Using analytical and numerical methods, we demonstrate that, for a sufficiently large adhesin speed, bidirectional motion arises from spontaneous symmetry breaking. The model also predicts that, close to the bifurcation point, a weak asymmetry in the binding dynamics is sufficient to facilitate directed motility, indicating that the direction of motion could be sensitively regulated internally in response to inhomogeneity of the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number248102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume111
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Dec 2013

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