Watch this video from vimeo to get the technique. (in this video you will see a newborn bacterial cell stands up, walks away from its sister cell, and then detaches from the surface)
Some bacteria can just stand up and toddle away on hairlike legs, a new study shows. The finding, reported October 8 in Science, could help scientists better understand how bacteria form dense antibiotic-resistant communities called biofilms and may lead to better ways to combat troublesome and sometimes deadly microbes.
Working under the supervision of Gerard Wong, a biophysicist now at UCLA, the students of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign adapted a technique used by physicists to track microscopic particles. Computer programs allowed the researchers to quickly sort through video footage of teeming bacteria to find out what individual cells were up to.
What the students saw were rod-shaped P. aeruginosa bacteria standing up on end and then staggering around the slide. The unsteady walks required the use of hairlike appendages called Type IV pili, the scientists found. Without pili, bacteria just lie there. But with pili, P. aeruginosa bacteria “have the ability to both be a sprinter and a long distance runner,” says George O’Toole, a microbiologist at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H.
As it turns out, walking is a common activity for bacteria. After a cell divided in two, about 67 percent of the time one of the newborn cells would get up and walk away from its sibling, the researchers observed
In the new study, Wong and his colleagues watched as P. aeruginosa bacteria used their pili as launch platforms. A bacterium first rises up on its end and then spins itself around, powered by a molecular motor that drives a whiplike swimming apparatus called a flagellum. Pili adjust the angle at which the cell is tilted. Finally, the microbe builds up momentum and shoots off the surface.
“They don’t just fly off a surface,” Wong says. “There’s a whole coordinated series of pirouettes.”