A National Research Infrastructure for Biological Imaging

The mechanism of force transmission at bacterial focal adhesion complexes.


Authors: Faure LM, Fiche JB, Espinosa L, Ducret A, Anantharaman V, Luciano J, Lhospice S, Islam ST, Tréguier J, Sotes M, Kuru E, Van Nieuwenhze MS, Brun YV, Théodoly O, Aravind L, Nollmann M, Mignot T.
Date: 2016-11-24 • Pages: 539(7630):530-535 • PMID: 27749817
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FBI Site: MARSMontpellier R&D Teams


Various rod-shaped bacteria mysteriously glide on surfaces in the absence of appendages such as flagella or pili. In the deltaproteobacterium Myxococcus xanthus, a putative gliding motility machinery (the Agl-Glt complex) localizes to so-called focal adhesion sites (FASs) that form stationary contact points with the underlying surface. Here we show that the Agl-Glt machinery contains an inner-membrane motor complex that moves intracellularly along a right-handed helical path; when the machinery becomes stationary at FASs, the motor complex powers a left-handed rotation of the cell around its long axis. At FASs, force transmission requires cyclic interactions between the molecular motor and the adhesion proteins of the outer membrane via a periplasmic interaction platform, which presumably involves contractile activity of motor components and possible interactions with peptidoglycan. Our results provide a molecular model of bacterial gliding motility.