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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 6;102(36):12754-8. Epub 2005 Aug 26.

Gliding ghosts of Mycoplasma mobile.

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Graduate School of Science, Osaka City University, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka 558-8585, Japan.

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  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 25;102(43):15712.
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Oct 9;104(41):16389.


Several species of mycoplasmas glide on solid surfaces, in the direction of their membrane protrusion at a cell pole, by an unknown mechanism. Our recent studies on the fastest species, Mycoplasma mobile, suggested that the gliding machinery, localized at the base of the membrane protrusion (the "neck"), is composed of two huge proteins. This machinery forms spikes sticking out from the neck and propels the cell by alternately binding and unbinding the spikes to a solid surface. Here, to study the intracellular mechanisms for gliding, we established a permeabilized gliding ghost model, analogous to the "Triton model" of the eukaryotic axoneme. Treatment with Triton X-100 stopped the gliding and converted the cells to permeabilized "ghosts." When ATP was added exogenously, approximately 85% of the ghosts were reactivated, gliding at speeds similar to those of living cells. The reactivation activity and inhibition by various nucleotides and ATP analogs, as well as their kinetic parameters, showed that the machinery is driven by the hydrolysis of ATP to ADP plus phosphate, caused by an unknown ATPase.

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