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The garden microbe with a sense of touch
Date:12/11/2013

under the microscope from a distance by changing the direction of force in the growth medium. The bacterial filaments grow parallel to stretching and perpendicular to compression force. When the gel was squeezed by only 1% it resulted in a full 90 turn by the filament. It is not known exactly how the response works but theories include a molecular sensing mechanism related to motility or possibly that the bacterium follows the distorted gel surface like a record player's stylus follows the grooves in a vinyl.

With its rapid growth and ability to respond to force, B. mycoides could function as an easy-to-read living early warning system detecting strain and failure in structures under mechanical load.

Mechanotaxis - the ability to respond to force - is also an important organising mechanism for the assembly of multicellular organisms, helping to sculpt developing tissues and organs including those of humans. Insights into how the response works in this simple bacterium may further understanding of how mechanotaxis evolved.


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Contact: Emma Thorne
emma.thorne@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-5793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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