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J Bacteriol. 2004 Jul;186(13):4382-6.

Spike structure at the interface between gliding Mycoplasma mobile cells and glass surfaces visualized by rapid-freeze-and-fracture electron microscopy.

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1
Department of Biology, Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka 558-8585, Japan. miyata@sci.osaka-cu.ac.jp

Abstract

Mycoplasma mobile is a flask-shaped bacteria that binds to a substrate and glides towards its tapered end, the so-called "head-like protrusion," by an unknown mechanism. To search for cellular structures underlying this motility, the cell-substrate interface of actively gliding cells was visualized by rapid-freeze-and-freeze-fracture rotary-shadow electron microscopy. Novel structures, called "spikes," were observed to protrude from the cell membrane and attach to the glass surface at their distal end. The spikes were on average 50 nm in length and 4 nm in diameter, most abundant around the head, and not observed in a nonbinding mutant. The spikes may be involved in the mechanism of binding, gliding, or both.

PMID:
15205441
PMCID:
PMC421615
DOI:
10.1128/JB.186.13.4382-4386.2004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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