Spirillum swimming: theory and observations of propulsion by the flagellar bundle.
The hydrodynamics and energetics of helical swimming by the bacterium Spirillum sp. is analysed using observations from medium speed cine photomicrography and theory. The photographic records show that the swimming organism's flagellar bundles beat in a helical fashion just as other bacterial flagella do. The data are analysed according to the rotational resistive theory of Chwang & Wu (1971) in a simple-to-use parametric form with the viscous coefficients Cs and Cn calculated according to the method of Lighthill (1975). Results of the analysis show that Spirillum dissipated biochemical energy in performing work against fluid resistance to motion at an average rate of about 6 X 10(-8) dyne cm s-1 with some 62-72% of the power dissipation due to the non-contractile body. These relationships yield a relatively low hydromechanical efficiency which is reflected in swimming speeds much smaller than a representative eukaryote. In addition the Cn/Cs ratio for the body is shown to lie in the range 0-86-1-51 and that for the flagellar bundle in the range 1-46-1-63. The implications of the power calculations for the Berg & Anderson (1973) rotating shaft model are discussed and it is shown that a rotational resistive theory analysis predicts a 5-cross bridge M ring for each flagellum of Spirillum. (+info)
Carbon and ammonia metabolism of Spirillum lipoferum.
Intact cells and extracts from Spirillum lipoferum rapidly oxidized malate, succinate, lactate, and pyruvate. Glucose, galactose, fructose, acetate, and citrate did not increase the rate of O2 uptake by cells above the endogenous rate. Cells grown on NH+/4 oxidized the various substrates at about the same rate as did cells grown on N2. Added oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide generally enhanced O2 uptake by extracts supplied organic acids, whereas oxidized nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate had little effect. Nitrogenase synthesis repressed by growth of cells in the presence of NH+/4 was derepressed by methionine sulfoximine or methionine sulfone. The total glutamine synthetase activity from N2-grown cells was about eight times that from NH+/4-grown S. lipoferum; the response of glutamate dehydrogenase was the opposite. The total glutamate synthetase activity from N2-grown S. lipoferum was 1.4 to 2.6 times that from NH+/4-grown cells. The levels of poly-beta-hydroxybutyrate and beta-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase were elevated in cells grown on N2 as compared with those grown on NH+/4. Cell-free extracts capable of reducing C2H2 have been prepared; both Mg2+ and Mn2+ are required for good activity. (+info)
Titanospirillum velox: a huge, speedy, sulfur-storing spirillum from Ebro Delta microbial mats.
A long (20-30 micrometer), wide (3-5 micrometer) microbial-mat bacterium from the Ebro Delta (Tarragona, Spain) was grown in mixed culture and videographed live. Intracellular elemental sulfur globules and unique cell termini were observed in scanning-electron-microprobe and transmission-electron micrographs. A polar organelle underlies bundles of greater than 60 flagella at each indented terminus. These Gram-negative bacteria bend, flex, and swim in a spiral fashion; they translate at speeds greater than 10 body lengths per second. The large size of the spirillum permits direct observation of cell motility in single individual bacteria. After desiccation (i.e., absence of standing water for at least 24 h), large populations developed in mat samples remoistened with sea water. Ultrastructural observations reveal abundant large sulfur globules irregularly distributed in the cytoplasm. A multilayered cell wall, pliable and elastic yet rigid, distends around the sulfur globules. Details of the wall, multiflagellated termini, and large cytoplasmic sulfur globules indicate that these fast-moving spirilla are distinctive enough to warrant a genus and species designation: Titanospirillum velox genus nov., sp. nov. The same collection techniques at a similar habitat in the United States (Plum Island, northeast Essex County, Massachusetts) also yielded large populations of the bacterium among purple phototrophic and other inhabitants of sulfurous microbial-mat muds. The months-long survival of T. velox from Spain and from the United States in closed jars filled with mud taken from both localities leads us to infer that this large spirillum has a cosmopolitan distribution. (+info)
Analysis of the cell wall and lipopolysaccharide of Spirillum serpens.
Isolated walls of Spirillum serpens VHA contained lipid, lipopolysaccharide, and protein in amounts similar to those of other gram-negative organisms. The loosely bound lipids consisted mainly of phosphatidylethanolamine, lyso-phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol, and diphosphatidylglycerol. Lipopolysaccharide was tightly bound to the wall and could only be removed in a substantial amount after digestion of the wall with Pronase. The lipopolysaccharide contained L-glycero-D-mannoheptose, rhamnose, glucosamine, ethanolamine, and phosphate in common with many of the lipopolysaccharides isolated from the Enterobacteriaceae. However, 2-keto-3-deoxyoctonic acid was not detected. Several unidentified sugars were present. The fatty acid composition resembled that found in lipopolysaccharides isolated from various pseudomonads. Two major regions were identified in the polysaccharide moiety, one apparently corresponding to the core polysaccharide and the other corresponding to the side-chain polysaccharide as in enterobacterial and pseudomonad lipopolysaccharides. The side chains were obtained as low-molecular-weight material and their structure was partially elucidated by the isolation and partial characterization of N-acetylglucosaminyl-(1 leads to 4)-rhamnose. (+info)
Surface arrays on the cell wall of Spirillum metamorphum.
A complex and easily disrupted arrangement of macromolecules was present on the outer (lipopolysaccharide) membrane of the cell wall of Spirillum metamorphum. Separation of the arrays from the cell and spontaneous reassembly into regularly structured complexes usually occurred during preparation for electron microscopy. Freeze etchings, thin sections, and optical diffraction analysis of negatively stained fragments indicated that they consisted of two sets of a thin layer which was studied with 3-nm particles arranged in a loose (OL). The OSL consisted of a hexagonal arrangement of 8-nm disks and the OL of a thin layer which was studied with 3-nm particles arranged in a loose rectangular manner. The OSL of reassembled fragments displayed numerous broken delta-linkers between units and a center-to-center spacing of half the expected distance, which suggests that an interdigitation of two OSL arrays had occurred. The observations combined with freeze etchings and thin sections of whole cells suggested a possible reassembly mechanism. The normal surface arrangement of these layers on cells was thought to consist of the OL overlying one set of OSL which was loosely adherent to a thin amorphous backing layer. (+info)
Substructure and in vitro assembly of the outer, structured layer of Spirillum serpens.
Electron micrographs of disintegrating units of the outer, structured (HP) layer of Spirillum serpens and of the isolated protein obtained from the HP layer revealed V- and Y-shaped and linear profiles. Interpretation of these forms, influenced by the seemingly trimeric form of the isolated protein and by biochemical data, suggested that the protein subunits were identical and Y shaped. A model is proposed for the assembly of the Y-shaped subunits to form a hexagon composed of two triads (three Y-shaped subunits each). The isolated protein adsorbed to a template of wall fragments (basal layer) to the same degree (over 90%) in high concentrations of Na+, K+ (5 X 10(-2) M), Ca2+, Sr2+, and Mg2+ (10(-2) M). At a lower concentration (4 x 10(-5) M) of the cations there was differential adsorption of the protein. Adsorption to the template in the presence of each cation, followed by dilution, also led to differential release of the protein. The adsorption of the protein to the basal layer was correlated with reassembly of the HP layer on the template. The mechanisms seem to be: (i) an ionic strength-dependent reassembly, which results in an HP layer loosely attached to the template (this layer is easily dissociated by decreasing the ionic strength); and (ii) a cation-specific (Ca2+ or Sr2+, but not Mg2+, Na+, or K+) mechanism independent of ionic strength. In this latter case, the specific cations presumably form strong noncovalent "salt" linkages between triads and the basal layer, enabling stable hexagons and the HP layer to be formed. (+info)
Investigations into the life cycle of the bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J at an interface by atomic force microscopy.
Atomic force microscopy was used to image Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J, a gram-negative bacterial predator that consumes a variety of other gram-negative bacteria. In predator-prey communities grown on filters at hydrated air-solid interfaces, repeated cycles of hunting, invasion, growth, and lysis occurred readily even though the cells were limited to near two-dimensional movement. This system allowed us to image the bacteria directly without extensive preparation or modification, and many of the cells remained alive during imaging. Presented are images of the life cycle in two species of prey organisms, both Escherichia coli (a small prey bacterium that grows two-dimensionally on a surface) and Aquaspirillum serpens (a large prey bacterium that grows three-dimensionally on a surface), including high-resolution images of invaded prey cells called bdelloplasts. We obtained evidence for multiple invasions per prey cell, as well as significant heterogeneity in morphology of bdellovibrios. Mutant host-independent bdellovibrios were observed to have flagella and to excrete a coating that causes the predators to clump together on a surface. Most interestingly, changes in the texture of the cell surface membranes were measured during the course of the invasion cycle. Thus, coupled with our preparation method, atomic force microscopy allowed new observations to be made about Bdellovibrio at an interface. These studies raise important questions about the ways in which bacterial predation at interfaces (air-solid or liquid-solid) may be similar to or different from predation in solution. (+info)
Growth of Spirillum lipoferum at constant partial pressures of oxygen, and the properties of its nitrogenase in cell-free extracts.
Spirillum lipoferum, an N2-fixing organism, was grown at constant concentrations of dissolved O2. When supplied with NH4+ aerobically, its doubling time was 1 h; when it fixed N2 microaerophilically, its doubling time was 5-5 to 7 h and the optimal PO2 for growth was 0-005 to 0-007 atm. At its optimal PO2 for growth on N2, S. lipoferum assimilated 8 to 10 mg nitrogen/g carbon substrate used; its efficiency was less at higher PO2 levels. Nitrogenase in cell-free extracts required Mg2+ and Mn2+, and the Fe-protein was activated by Rhodospirillum rubrum activating factor. The nitrogenase had an optimal pH of 7-1 to 7-4 and an apparent Km for acetylene of 0-0036 atm. Extracts of S. lipoferum lost their nitrogenase activity on storage at -18 degrees C, and activity was restored by adding purified Fe-protein from other N2-fixing bacteria. (+info)