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Characterization of motility and piliation in pathogenic Neisseria
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Theoretical Physics, Statistical Physics.
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2015 (English)In: BMC Microbiology, ISSN 1471-2180, Vol. 15, 92Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The type IV pili (Tfp) of pathogenic Neisseria (i. e., N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis) are essential for twitching motility. Tfp retraction, which is dependent on the ATPase PilT, generates the forces that move bacteria over surfaces. Neisseria motility has mainly been studied in N. gonorrhoeae whereas the motility of N. meningitidis has not yet been characterized. Results: In this work, we analyzed bacterial motility and monitored Tfp retraction using live- cell imaging of freely moving bacteria. We observed that N. meningitidis moved over surfaces at an approximate speed of 1.6 mu m/s, whereas N. gonorrhoeae moved with a lower speed (1.0 mu/s). An alignment of the meningococcal and gonococcal pilT promoters revealed a conserved single base pair variation in the -10 promoter element that influence PilT expression. By tracking mutants with altered pilT expression or pilE sequence, we concluded that the difference in motility speed was independent of both. Live-cell imaging using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy demonstrated that N. gonorrhoeae more often moved with fewer visible retracting filaments when compared to N. meningitidis. Correspondingly, meningococci also displayed a higher level of piliation in transmission electron microscopy. Nevertheless, motile gonococci that had the same number of filaments as N. meningitidis still moved with a lower speed. Conclusions: These data reveal differences in both speed and piliation between the pathogenic Neisseria species during twitching motility, suggesting a difference in Tfp-dynamics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 15, 92
Keyword [en]
Neisseria, Type IV pili, PilT, Twitching motility
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-172260DOI: 10.1186/s12866-015-0424-6ISI: 000355289300001PubMedID: 25925502ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84930644710OAI: diva2:847197
Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Cancer Society

QC 20150819

Available from: 2015-08-19 Created: 2015-08-14 Last updated: 2015-08-19Bibliographically approved

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