Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 29;6:17790. doi: 10.1038/srep17790.

Interplay between type IV pili activity and exopolysaccharides secretion controls motility patterns in single cells of Myxococcus xanthus.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology, School of Life Science, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong 250100, China.
School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Myxococcus xanthus performs coordinated social motility of cell groups through the extension and retraction of type IV pili (TFP) on solid surfaces, which requires both TFP and exopolysaccharides (EPS). By submerging cells in a liquid medium containing 1% methylcellulose, M. xanthus TFP-driven motility was induced in isolated cells and independently of EPS. We measured and analyzed the movements of cells using community tracking algorithms, which combine single-cell resolution with statistics from large sample populations. Cells without significant multi-cellular social interactions have surprisingly complex behaviors: EPS(-) cells exhibited a pronounced increase in the tendency to stand vertically and moved with qualitatively different characteristics than other cells. A decrease in the EPS secretion of cells correlates with a higher instantaneous velocity, but with lower directional persistence in trajectories. Moreover, EPS(-) cells do not adhere to the surface as strongly as wild-type and EPS overproducing cells, and display a greater tendency to have large deviations between the direction of movement and the cell axis, with cell velocity showing only minimal dependence on the direction of movement. The emerging picture is that EPS does not simply provide rheological resistance to a single mechanism but rather that the availability of EPS impacts motility pattern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center