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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Defects in gliding motility in mutants of Cytophaga johnsonae lacking a high-molecular-weight cell surface polysaccharide.

We previously observed (W. Godchaux, L. Gorski, and E.R. Leadbetter, J. Bacteriol. 172:1250-1255, 1990) that two mutants (strains 21 and NS-1) of the gliding bacterium Cytophaga johnsonae that were totally deficient in motility-dependent colony spreading, movement of rafts (groups) of cells as observed with a microscope, and movement of polystyrene-latex spheres that attached to the cell surface (observed in wet mounts) were also deficient in a high-molecular-weight cell surface polysaccharide (HMPS) and suggested a role for that substance in gliding motility. Antisera have been prepared against the purified HMPS, and these were used to select mutants specifically and highly deficient in the polysaccharide. All five such mutants had rates of colony spreading and raft movement that were much lower than those of the parent strain, but the rate of increase in colony diameter was higher than that found for strains NS-1 and 21 (which do not undergo raft movement at all). Unlike these latter two strains, the HMPS mutants retained the ability to move polystyrene-latex spheres over their surfaces. Hence, HMPS deficiency results in defective motility but not nonmotility, and the HMPS deficiency cannot fully explain the phenotype of mutants 21 and NS-1; in these strains, gliding must be affected by additional biochemical lesions. The HMPS may, nonetheless, be advantageous in that it supports greater gliding speeds.[1]


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