A new study led by scientists at UNSW Sydney reveals how nature’s oldest wheels, which reside inside bacteria, can self-repair when faced with difficult situations.
Findings released today scientific progressshows how the ancient motors that power flagellum-swimming ability work bacteria—It can also help these tiny organisms adapt to conditions that impair their motility.
Being able to swim is crucial to how bacteria survive and spread. However, little is known about how the motors that drive their movements help organisms adapt to hostile environments.
Researchers from the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences are the first in the world to modify flagellar motors using CRISPR gene editing technology. They used synthetic biology techniques to engineer sodium motors onto their genomes to create sodium-driven swimming bacteria. They then tested and tracked the bacteria’s ability to adapt when the environment became sodium deficient.
Sodium is an ion, so it has an electric charge. It is this charge that powers the flagellar motor through the stator or ion channels.
The team found that the stator could quickly self-repair the flagellar motor and restore movement. These discoveries could lead to new advances throughout the fields of biology and medicine.
“So CRISPR editing also quickly reverts, allowing the flagellar motor to evolve and then regulate itself,” says Dr. Ridone.
“The fact that we have seen direct mutations in the stator is surprising and will also inspire many of our future research projects in this area.”
force of molecular machines
of human body It contains about 10,000 types of molecular machines, powering a variety of biological functions, from energy conversion to motion.
Bacterial motor technology is far beyond what humans can engineer at the nanoscale. A grain of sand he is a million times smaller, can be built and spins up to five times faster than an F1 engine.
“The motor that powers bacterial swimming is a marvel of nanotechnology,” said Associate Professor Matthew Baker, co-author of the paper. “It is an absolute representative offspring of an ancient and highly sophisticated molecular machinery.”
A/Prof. Baker says the findings will help us better understand the origin of molecular motors—how they come together and how they adapt—in mechanistic detail.
“These ancient parts are a powerful system for studying not only the origin and evolution of motility, but evolution in general.”
A/Prof.Baker says the findings inform how synthetic biology Useful for creating new molecular motors. The findings may also have applications in understanding antimicrobial resistance and disease virulence.
“By shining a light on the ancient history of life, we can gain the knowledge to create tools that will help make the future better,” said A/Prof. Baker. “It could also lead to insights into how bacteria will adapt under future climate change scenarios.”
For more information:
Pietro Ridone et al. Rapid evolution of flagellar ion selectivity in experimental populations of E. coli. scientific progress (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq2492
University of New South Wales
Quote: Research Reveals How Bacteria Use Ancient Mechanisms to Self-Repair (November 23, 2022) https://phys.org/news/2022-11-uncovers-bacteria-ancient- Retrieved 11/24/2022 from mechanisms-self-repair.html
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