Swarming motility by Photorhabdus temperata is influenced by environmental conditions and uses the same flagella as that used in swimming motility


Photorhabdus temperata, an insect pathogen and nematode symbiont, is motile in liquid medium by swimming. We found that P. temperata was capable of surface movement, termed swarming behavior. Several lines of evidence indicate that P. temperata use the same flagella for both swimming and swarming motility. Both motility types required additional NaCl or KCl in the medium and had peritrichous flagella, which were composed of the same flagellin as detected by immunoblotting experiments. Mutants defective in flagellar structural proteins were nonmotile for both motility types. Unlike swimming, we observed swarming behavior to be a social form of movement in which the cells coordinately formed intricate channels covering a surface. The constituents of the swarm media affected motility. Swarming was optimal on low agar concentrations; as agar concentrations increased, swarm ring diameters decreased.

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Canadian journal of microbiology


NRC Research Press

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