Pili-Induced Clustering of N. gonorrhoeae Bacteria

DSpace/Manakin Repository

Pili-Induced Clustering of N. gonorrhoeae Bacteria

Citable link to this page


Title: Pili-Induced Clustering of N. gonorrhoeae Bacteria
Author: Taktikos, Johannes; Lin, Yen Ting; Stark, Holger; Biais, Nicolas; Zaburdaev, Vasily

Note: Order does not necessarily reflect citation order of authors.

Citation: Taktikos, Johannes, Yen Ting Lin, Holger Stark, Nicolas Biais, and Vasily Zaburdaev. 2015. “Pili-Induced Clustering of N. gonorrhoeae Bacteria.” PLoS ONE 10 (9): e0137661. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137661. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0137661.
Full Text & Related Files:
Abstract: Type IV pili (Tfp) are prokaryotic retractable appendages known to mediate surface attachment, motility, and subsequent clustering of cells. Tfp are the main means of motility for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the causative agent of gonorrhea. Tfp are also involved in formation of the microcolonies, which play a crucial role in the progression of the disease. While motility of individual cells is relatively well understood, little is known about the dynamics of N. gonorrhoeae aggregation. We investigate how individual N. gonorrhoeae cells, initially uniformly dispersed on flat plastic or glass surfaces, agglomerate into spherical microcolonies within hours. We quantify the clustering process by measuring the area fraction covered by the cells, number of cell aggregates, and their average size as a function of time. We observe that the microcolonies are also able to move but their mobility rapidly vanishes as the size of the colony increases. After a certain critical size they become immobile. We propose a simple theoretical model which assumes a pili-pili interaction of cells as the main clustering mechanism. Numerical simulations of the model quantitatively reproduce the experimental data on clustering and thus suggest that the agglomeration process can be entirely explained by the Tfp-mediated interactions. In agreement with this hypothesis mutants lacking pili are not able to form colonies. Moreover, cells with deficient quorum sensing mechanism show similar aggregation as the wild-type bacteria. Therefore, our results demonstrate that pili provide an essential mechanism for colony formation, while additional chemical cues, for example quorum sensing, might be of secondary importance.
Published Version: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137661
Other Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4565587/pdf/
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:22856909
Downloads of this work:

Show full Dublin Core record

This item appears in the following Collection(s)


Search DASH

Advanced Search