II. Physical Principles of Prokaryotic Motility



Bacteria such as E. Coli, Myxobacteria, F. Johnsoniae seem to use different modes of motility. Yet there seem to be some common physical mechanisms involved in these bacteria. For example, all these bacteria convert transmembrane electrochemical potential energy into mechanical energy, which is then used for their motility. Moreover, the primary motors that enable this conversion are similar atleast for E. Coli and Myxobacteria. I am primarily interested in understanding the principles of bacterial motility from the micro to the macroscale. The problems at the microscale are mainly related to how the transmembrane proteins convert electrochemical potential energy into mechanical energy. The problems at the macroscale are related to the bacterial movement as a whole. 

The fundamental questions I am interested in addressing are: 

  • How do bacteria convert electrochemical energy into mechanical energy? What are the fundamental forces and physical movements of proteins involved in this energy conversion?
  • How do different types of bacteria move at the macroscopic level? How do the individual motors collectively propel the bacteria?
  • What mechanisms govern the movement of bacteria at the celluar level?   
© Kranthi K. Mandadapu