Implications of back-and-forth motion and powerful propulsion for spirochetal invasion

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
K. AbeShuichi Nakamura


The spirochete Leptospira spp. can move in liquid and on a solid surface with two periplasmic flagella (PFs), and the motility is essential virulence factor for the pathogenic species. Although the fact that mammals are infected with the spirochete through wounded dermis imply the importance of behaviors on the boundary with such viscoelastic milieu, how the leptospiral pathogenicity involves motility remains unclear. We used the glass chamber containing a gel area adjoining the leptospiral suspension to resemble host dermis exposed to contaminated water and analyzed the motility of individual cells at the liquid-gel border. Insertion of one end of the cell body to the gel increased switching of the swimming direction. We also measured the swimming force of Leptospira by trapping single cells using optical tweezer, showing that they can produce {approx}17 pN, which is {approx}30 times of the swimming force of Escherichia coli. The force-speed relationship suggested the load-dependent force enhancement and showed that the power (the work per unit time) for the propulsion is {approx}3.1x10-16 W, which is two-order larger than the propulsive power of E. coli. Powerful, efficient propulsion of Leptospira with back-and-forth movemen...Continue Reading

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