MICROSCOPY Vol.44▶No.3 2009

Machinery and Mechanism of Mycoplasma Gliding

Makoto Miyata

Abstract: Pathogenic bacteria, Mycoplasma form a membrane protrusion at a cell pole, bind to solid surfaces, and glide. Its mechanism is totally different from those of biomotility systems studied so far. The studies on the fastest species, Mycoplasma mobile are clarifying the machinery, component proteins, and mechanism. The gliding machinery is composed of 4 proteins, and supported from cell inside by a jellyfish-like cytoskeletal structure. The movement generated by ATP hydrolysis is transmitted to “leg” protein through “crank” protein on cell surface. The legs, string-like structures bind and pull sialic acids to one direction, and propel the cell forward.

Key words: mycoplasma, gliding motility, molecular shape, cytoskeleton, cell architecture