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Dev Cell. 2016 Feb 22;36(4):453-61. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.01.013.

Architecture and Characteristics of Bacterial Nanotubes.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, POB 12272, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.
2
Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
3
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
4
Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
5
Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland; Department of Life Sciences and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84120, Israel.
6
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, POB 12272, Jerusalem 91120, Israel. Electronic address: sigalb@ekmd.huji.ac.il.

Abstract

Bacteria display an array of contact-dependent interaction systems that have evolved to facilitate direct cell-to-cell communication. We have previously identified a mode of bacterial communication mediated by nanotubes bridging neighboring cells. Here, we elucidate nanotube architecture, dynamics, and molecular components. Utilizing Bacillus subtilis as a model organism, we found that at low cell density, nanotubes exhibit remarkable complexity, existing as both intercellular tubes and extending tubes, with the latter frequently surrounding the cells in a "root-like" fashion. Observing nanotube formation in real time showed that these structures are formed in the course of minutes, displaying rapid movements. Utilizing a combination of super-resolution, light, and electron microscopy, we revealed that nanotubes are composed of chains of membranous segments harboring a continuous lumen. Furthermore, we discovered that a conserved calcineurin-like protein, YmdB, presents in nanotubes and is required for both nanotube production and intercellular molecular trade.

PMID:
26906740
DOI:
10.1016/j.devcel.2016.01.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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