Positioning of the Motility Machinery in Halophilic Archaea

Zhengqun LiSonja-Verena Albers


Bacteria and archaea exhibit tactical behavior and can move up and down chemical gradients. This tactical behavior relies on a motility structure, which is guided by a chemosensory system. Environmental signals are sensed by membrane-inserted chemosensory receptors that are organized in large ordered arrays. While the cellular positioning of the chemotaxis machinery and that of the flagellum have been studied in detail in bacteria, we have little knowledge about the localization of such macromolecular assemblies in archaea. Although the archaeal motility structure, the archaellum, is fundamentally different from the flagellum, archaea have received the chemosensory machinery from bacteria and have connected this system with the archaellum. Here, we applied a combination of time-lapse imaging and fluorescence and electron microscopy using the model euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii and found that archaella were specifically present at the cell poles of actively dividing rod-shaped cells. The chemosensory arrays also had a polar preference, but in addition, several smaller arrays moved freely in the lateral membranes. In the stationary phase, rod-shaped cells became round and chemosensory arrays were disassembled. The positioning o...Continue Reading


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Russula archaea
Sensory Perception of Chemical Stimulus
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Cell Motility
Regulation of Biological Process
Time-Lapse Imaging
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