Probing the Structure-Function Relationships of Microbial Systems

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The elucidation of microbial surface architecture and function is critical to determining mechanisms of pathogenesis, immune response, physicochemical properties, environmental resistance and development of countermeasures against bioterrorist agents. We have utilized high-resolution in vitro AFM for studies of structure, assembly, function and environmental dynamics of several microbial systems including bacteria and bacterial spores. Lateral resolutions of {approx}2.0 nm were achieved on pathogens, in vitro. We have demonstrated, using various species of Bacillus and Clostridium bacterial spores, that in vitro AFM can address spatially explicit spore coat protein interactions, structural dynamics in response to environmental changes, and the life cycle of ... continued below

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Plomp, M; Leighton, T J; Holman, H & Malkin, A J November 3, 2005.

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The elucidation of microbial surface architecture and function is critical to determining mechanisms of pathogenesis, immune response, physicochemical properties, environmental resistance and development of countermeasures against bioterrorist agents. We have utilized high-resolution in vitro AFM for studies of structure, assembly, function and environmental dynamics of several microbial systems including bacteria and bacterial spores. Lateral resolutions of {approx}2.0 nm were achieved on pathogens, in vitro. We have demonstrated, using various species of Bacillus and Clostridium bacterial spores, that in vitro AFM can address spatially explicit spore coat protein interactions, structural dynamics in response to environmental changes, and the life cycle of pathogens at near-molecular resolution under physiological conditions. We found that strikingly different species-dependent crystalline structures of the spore coat appear to be a consequence of nucleation and crystallization mechanisms that regulate the assembly of the outer spore coat, and we proposed a unifying mechanism for outer spore coat self-assembly. Furthermore, we revealed molecular-scale transformations of the spore coat during the germination process, which include profound, previously unrecognized changes of the spore coat. We will present data on the direct visualization of stress-induced environmental response of metal-resistant Arthrobacter oxydans bacteria to Cr (VI) exposure, resulting in the formation of a supramolecular crystalline hexagonal structure on the cell surface. At higher Cr (VI) concentrations the formation of microbial extracellular polymers, which cover microbial colony was observed. High-resolution visualization of stress-induced structures on bacterial surfaces builds a foundation for real time in vitro molecular scale studies of structural dynamics of metal-resistant bacteria in response to environmental stimuli. In the case of the bacterium Chlamedia trachomatis, we were able to identify surface exposed proteins versus proteins embedded in the outer membrane. These studies establish in vitro AFM as a powerful new tool capable of revealing pathogen architecture, structural dynamics and variability at nanometer-to-micrometer scales.

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PDF-file: 3 pages; size: 0.1 Mbytes

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  • Presented at: 2nd ASM - IEEE EMBS Conference on Bio, Micro and Nanosystems, San Francisco, CA, United States, Jan 15 - Jan 18, 2006

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  • Report No.: UCRL-PROC-216841
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 883557
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc891800

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  • November 3, 2005

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  • Sept. 23, 2016, 2:42 p.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 7:05 p.m.

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Plomp, M; Leighton, T J; Holman, H & Malkin, A J. Probing the Structure-Function Relationships of Microbial Systems, article, November 3, 2005; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc891800/: accessed December 10, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.