Get a Move On

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Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 15
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5731.15a

Soil-dwelling myxobacteria move by a process termed gliding motility, which requires the surface expression of cellular protrusions, the type IV pili. More than 25 years ago, Myxococcus xanthus motility mutants lacking pili were shown to be phenotypically complemented by direct contact with motile neighbors. Nudleman et al. (p. 125) now identify the mechanism of the contact-mediated, nongenetic complementation of this type of motility. Complementation appears to be effected by the transfer from one cell membrane to another of the TGL protein, which is required for the construction of secretin pores, which in turn allow for the synthesis and retraction of the pili required for motility.

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