Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Positioning the flagellum at the center of a dividing cell to combine bacterial division with magnetic polarity

Abstract : Faithful replication of all structural features is a sine qua non condition for the success of bacterial reproduction by binary fission. For some species, a key challenge is to replicate and organize structures with multiple polarities. Polarly flagellated magnetotactic bacteria are the prime example of organisms dealing with such a dichotomy; they have the challenge of bequeathing two types of polarities to their daughter cells: magnetic and flagellar polarities. Indeed, these microorganisms align and move in the Earth's magnetic field using an intracellular chain of nano-magnets that imparts a magnetic dipole to the cell. The paradox is that, after division occurs in cells, if the new flagellum is positioned opposite to the old pole devoid of a flagellum during cell division, the two daughter cells will have opposite magnetic polarities with respect to the positions of their flagella. Here we show that magnetotactic bacteria of the class Gammaproteobacteria pragmatically solve this problem by synthesizing a new flagellum at the division site. In addition, we model this particular structural inheritance during cell division. This finding opens up new questions regarding the molecular aspects of the new division mechanism, the way other polarly flagellated magnetotactic bacteria control the rotational direction of their flagella, and the positioning of organelles.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Damien Faivre Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, April 9, 2021 - 9:37:06 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, June 25, 2022 - 8:28:51 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, July 12, 2021 - 9:20:44 AM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International License




Christopher T. Lefèvre, Mathieu Bennet, Stefan Klumpp, Damien Faivre. Positioning the flagellum at the center of a dividing cell to combine bacterial division with magnetic polarity. mBio, American Society for Microbiology, 2015, 6, pp.e02286-14. ⟨10.1128/mBio.02286-14⟩. ⟨cea-03190866⟩



Record views


Files downloads