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06 June 2023
Article (Scientific journals)
Controlled motility in the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium regulates aggregate architecture
Pfreundt, Ulrike; Słomka, Jonasz; Schneider, Giulia et al.
2023In Science, 380 (6647), p. 830-835
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DOI: 10.1126/science.adf2753
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Keywords :
motility; aggregation; cyanobacteria; filamentous; Trichodesmium
Abstract :
[en] The ocean’s nitrogen is largely fixed by cyanobacteria, including Trichodesmium, which forms aggregates comprising hundreds of filaments arranged in organized architectures. Aggregates often form upon exposure to stress and have ecological and biophysical characteristics that differ from those of single filaments. Here, we report that Trichodesmium aggregates can rapidly modulate their shape, responding within minutes to changes in environmental conditions. Combining video microscopy and mathematical modeling, we discovered that this reorganization is mediated by “smart reversals” wherein gliding filaments reverse when their overlap with other filaments diminishes. By regulating smart reversals, filaments control aggregate architecture without central coordination. We propose that the modulation of gliding motility at the single-filament level is a determinant of Trichodesmium’s aggregation behavior and ultimately of its biogeochemical role in the ocean.
Disciplines :
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Environmental sciences & ecology
Author, co-author :
Pfreundt, Ulrike
Słomka, Jonasz
Schneider, Giulia
Sengupta, Anupam ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM) > Department of Physics and Materials Science (DPHYMS)
Carrara, Francesco
Fernandez, Vicente
Ackermann, Martin
Stocker, Roman
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Controlled motility in the cyanobacterium Trichodesmium regulates aggregate architecture
Publication date :
26 May 2023
Journal title :
Publisher :
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, United States - District of Columbia
Volume :
Issue :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Focus Area :
Physics and Materials Science
FnR Project :
FNR11572821 > Anupam Sengupta > MBRACE > Biophysics Of Microbial Adaptation To Fluctuations In The Environment > 15/05/2018 > 14/05/2023 > 2017
Funders :
FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche
SNSF - Swiss National Science Foundation
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
Simons Foundation
National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Microbiomes, Switzerland


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