Share this publication:
Bacterial from several taxa, including Kurthia zopfii, Myxococcus xanthus, and Bacillus mycoides, have been reported to align growth of their colonies to small features on the surface of solid media, including anisotropies created by compression. While the function of this phenomenon is unclear, it may help organisms navigate on solid phases, such as soil. The origin of this behavior is also unknown: it may be biological (that is, dependent on components that sense the environment and regulate growth accordingly) or merely physical. Here we show that B. subtilis, an organism that typically does not respond to media compression, can be induced to do so with two simple and synergistically perturbations: a mutation that maintains cells in the swarming (chained) state, and the addition of EDTA to the growth media, which further increases chain length. EDTA apparently increases cell length by inducing defects in cell separation, as the treatment has only marginal effects on the length of individual cells. These results lead us to three conclusions. First, the wealth of genetic tools available to B. subtilis will provide a new, tractable chassis for engineering compression sensitive organisms. Second, the sensitivity of colony morphology to media compression in Bacillus is a physical rather than biological phenomenon dependent on a simple physical property of rod-shaped cells. And third, colony morphology under compression holds promise as a rapid, simple, and low-cost way to screen for changes in the length of rod-shaped cells or chains thereof.
About the publisher:
We are a publishing house devoted to reuse CC-BY licensed published materials.
Using CC-BY licenses:
YOU ARE FREE TO:
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
- for any purpose, even commercially.
- The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.
UNDER THE FOLLOWING TERMS:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others
from doing anything the license permits.
- You do not have to comply with the license for elements of the material in the public domain or where your use is permitted by an applicable exception or limitation.
- No warranties are given. The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material.