Biochemical Society transactions

Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 chemotaxis proteins and electron-transport chain components essential for congregation near insoluble electron acceptors.

PMID 23176449


Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 cells utilize a behaviour response called electrokinesis to increase their speed in the vicinity of IEAs (insoluble electron acceptors), including manganese oxides, iron oxides and poised electrodes [Harris, El-Naggar, Bretschger, Ward, Romine, Obraztsova and Nealson (2010) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107, 326-331]. However, it is not currently understood how bacteria remain in the vicinity of the IEA and accumulate both on the surface and in the surrounding medium. In the present paper, we provide results indicating that cells that have contacted the IEAs swim faster than those that have not recently made contact. In addition, fast-swimming cells exhibit an enhancement of swimming reversals leading to rapid non-random accumulation of cells on, and adjacent to, mineral particles. We call the observed accumulation near IEAs 'congregation'. Congregation is eliminated by the loss of a critical gene involved with EET (extracellular electron transport) (cymA, SO_4591) and is altered or eliminated in several deletion mutants of homologues of genes that are involved with chemotaxis or energy taxis in Escherichia coli. These genes include chemotactic signal transduction protein (cheA-3, SO_3207), methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins with the Cache domain (mcp_cache, SO_2240) or the PAS (Per/Arnt/Sim) domain (mcp_pas, SO_1385). In the present paper, we report studies of S. oneidensis MR-1 that lend some insight into how microbes in this group can 'sense' the presence of a solid substrate such as a mineral surface, and maintain themselves in the vicinity of the mineral (i.e. via congregation), which may ultimately lead to attachment and biofilm formation.