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      The Bacterial Cytoplasm Has Glass-like Properties and Is Fluidized by Metabolic Activity

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      Cell
      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          The physical nature of the bacterial cytoplasm is poorly understood even though it determines cytoplasmic dynamics and hence cellular physiology and behavior. Through single-particle tracking of protein filaments, plasmids, storage granules, and foreign particles of different sizes, we find that the bacterial cytoplasm displays properties that are characteristic of glass-forming liquids and changes from liquid-like to solid-like in a component size-dependent fashion. As a result, the motion of cytoplasmic components becomes disproportionally constrained with increasing size. Remarkably, cellular metabolism fluidizes the cytoplasm, allowing larger components to escape their local environment and explore larger regions of the cytoplasm. Consequently, cytoplasmic fluidity and dynamics dramatically change as cells shift between metabolically active and dormant states in response to fluctuating environments. Our findings provide insight into bacterial dormancy and have broad implications to our understanding of bacterial physiology, as the glassy behavior of the cytoplasm impacts all intracellular processes involving large components. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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          Most cited references69

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          We have developed a simple and highly efficient method to disrupt chromosomal genes in Escherichia coli in which PCR primers provide the homology to the targeted gene(s). In this procedure, recombination requires the phage lambda Red recombinase, which is synthesized under the control of an inducible promoter on an easily curable, low copy number plasmid. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we generated PCR products by using primers with 36- to 50-nt extensions that are homologous to regions adjacent to the gene to be inactivated and template plasmids carrying antibiotic resistance genes that are flanked by FRT (FLP recognition target) sites. By using the respective PCR products, we made 13 different disruptions of chromosomal genes. Mutants of the arcB, cyaA, lacZYA, ompR-envZ, phnR, pstB, pstCA, pstS, pstSCAB-phoU, recA, and torSTRCAD genes or operons were isolated as antibiotic-resistant colonies after the introduction into bacteria carrying a Red expression plasmid of synthetic (PCR-generated) DNA. The resistance genes were then eliminated by using a helper plasmid encoding the FLP recombinase which is also easily curable. This procedure should be widely useful, especially in genome analysis of E. coli and other bacteria because the procedure can be done in wild-type cells.
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            Phase behaviour of concentrated suspensions of nearly hard colloidal spheres

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              Scaling the microrheology of living cells.

              We report a scaling law that governs both the elastic and frictional properties of a wide variety of living cell types, over a wide range of time scales and under a variety of biological interventions. This scaling identifies these cells as soft glassy materials existing close to a glass transition, and implies that cytoskeletal proteins may regulate cell mechanical properties mainly by modulating the effective noise temperature of the matrix. The practical implications are that the effective noise temperature is an easily quantified measure of the ability of the cytoskeleton to deform, flow, and reorganize.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Cell
                Cell
                Elsevier BV
                00928674
                January 2014
                January 2014
                : 156
                : 1-2
                : 183-194
                Article
                10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.028
                3956598
                24361104
                a6c5822c-80e9-4a0d-90b2-146d80fcfe4d
                © 2014

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

                https://www.elsevier.com/open-access/userlicense/1.0/

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