Movies of swimming motility

Escherichia coli

Rhodobacter sphaeroides


Movies of swarming motility

Escherichia coli swarm

Salmonella typhmurium swarm

Serratia marcescens swarm

Movies of gliding motility


Mycoplasma mobile

Flavobacterium johnsoniae

Movies of Twitching motility

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Other movies

Tethered bacteria

Escherichia coli patterns

Carpets and microchannels

Miscellaneous movies

Marvels of Bacterial Behavior - History & Physics of Bacterial Motion

Rowland Institute         Harvard University

Gliding in Flavobacterium johnsoniae

Cells of wild-type Flavobacterium johnsoniae strain CJ1827 glide over glass in a manner similar to that of Cytophaga sp. strain U67, discussed above. But with Flavobacterium, we have genetics. A cell-surface adhesin, SprB, that appears as filaments about 160 nm long by 6 nm in diameter, has been identified as a key component that enables gliding. Abhishek Shrivastava found that when cells were subjected to viscous shear, as E. coli is when prepared for tethering, they stop gliding but stick to glass and pinwheel, much like tethered E. coli. Thus, cells of Flavobacterium also have rotary motors. But they are not the same as motors in E. coli, since they run at constant speed rather than constant torque. We wonder how rotation leads to translation? Do cells have treads carrying SprB that run on sprockets? Are we dealing with a microscopic snowmobile?!


Flavobacterium glide

Flavobacterium rotate


Nakane, D., Sato, K., Wada, H., McBride, M.J., and Nakayama, K. Helical flow of surface protein required for bacterial gliding motility. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110, 11145-11150 (2013).

Shrivastava, A., Lele, P.P., and Berg, H.C. A rotary motor drives Flavobacterium gliding. Current Biol. 25, 338–341 (2015).

Shrivastava, A., and Berg, H.C. Towards a model for Flavobacterium gliding. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 28, 93-97 (2015).