Single-Cell Bacterial Electrophysiology Reveals Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Damage

Ekaterina Krasnopeeva, Chien Jung Lo, Teuta Pilizota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

An electrochemical gradient of protons, or proton motive force (PMF), is at the basis of bacterial energetics. It powers vital cellular processes and defines the physiological state of the cell. Here, we use an electric circuit analogy of an Escherichia coli cell to mathematically describe the relationship between bacterial PMF, electric properties of the cell membrane, and catabolism. We combine the analogy with the use of bacterial flagellar motor as a single-cell “voltmeter” to measure cellular PMF in varied and dynamic external environments (for example, under different stresses). We find that butanol acts as an ionophore and functionally characterize membrane damage caused by the light of shorter wavelengths. Our approach coalesces noninvasive and fast single-cell voltmeter with a well-defined mathematical framework to enable quantitative bacterial electrophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2390-2399
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume116
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 18 Jun 2019

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