Polymer confinement and bacterial gliding motility
Polymer Program, Institute of Materials Science and Department of Physics, University of Connecticut, CT 06269, Storrs, USA
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Accepted: 28 April 2005
Published online: 5 July 2005
Cyanobacteria and myxobacteria use slime secretion for gliding motility over surfaces. The slime is produced by the nozzle-like pores located on the bacteria surface. To understand the mechanism of gliding motion and its relation to slime polymerization, we have performed molecular dynamics simulations of a molecular nozzle with growing inside polymer chains. These simulations show that the compression of polymer chains inside the nozzle is a driving force for propulsion. There is a linear relationship between the average nozzle velocity and the chain polymerization rate with a proportionality coefficient dependent on the geometric characteristics of the nozzle such as its length and friction coefficient. This minimal model of the molecular engine was used to explain the gliding motion of bacteria over surfaces.
PACS: 36.20.-r Macromolecules and polymer molecules – / 83.10.Rs Computer simulation of molecular and particle dynamics – / 87.16.-b Subcellular structure and processes –
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag, 2005