Flavobacterium johnsoniae, like many other members of the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides group, displays rapid gliding motility. Cells of F. johnsoniae glide over surfaces at rates of up to 10 microm/s. Latex spheres added to F. johnsoniae bind to and are rapidly propelled along cells, suggesting that adhesive molecules move laterally along the cell surface during gliding. Genetic analyses have identified a number of gld genes that are required for gliding. Three Gld proteins are thought to be components of an ATP-binding-cassette transporter. Five other Gld proteins are lipoproteins that localize to the cytoplasmic membrane or outer membrane. Disruption of gld genes results not only in loss of motility, but also in resistance to bacteriophages that infect wild-type cells, and loss of the ability to digest the insoluble polysaccharide chitin. Two models that attempt to incorporate the available data to explain the mechanism of F. johnsoniae gliding are presented.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel