New twists and turns in bacterial locomotion and signal transduction

Kylie J. Watts, Ady Vaknin, Clay Fuqua, Barbara I. Kazmierczak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Prokaryotic organisms occupy the most diverse set of environments and conditions on our planet. Their ability to sense and respond to a broad range of external cues remain key research areas in modern microbiology, central to behaviors that underlie beneficial and pathogenic interactions of bacteria with multicellular organisms and within complex ecosystems. Advances in our understanding of the one- and two-component signal transduction systems that underlie these sensing pathways have been driven by advances in imaging the behavior of many individual bacterial cells, as well as visualizing individual proteins and protein arrays within living cells. Cryo-electron tomography continues to provide new insights into the structure and function of chemosensory receptors and flagellar motors, while advances in protein labeling and tracking are applied to understand information flow between receptor and motor. Sophisticated microfluidics allow simultaneous analysis of the behavior of thousands of individual cells, increasing our understanding of how variance between individuals is generated, regulated, and employed to maximize fitness of a population. In vitro experiments have been complemented by the study of signal transduction and motility in complex in vivo models, allowing investigators to directly address the contribution of motility, chemotaxis, and aggregation/ adhesion on virulence during infection. Finally, systems biology approaches have demonstrated previously uncharted areas of protein space in which novel two-component signal transduction pathways can be designed and constructed de novo. These exciting experimental advances were just some of the many novel findings presented at the 15th Bacterial Locomotion and Signal Transduction conference (BLAST XV) in January 2019.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere00439-19
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • Chemotaxis
  • Cryo-electron tomography
  • Cyclic di-GMP
  • Flagellar motility
  • Flagellar structure
  • Pili
  • Signal transduction
  • Two-component systems


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