Medical College of Wisconsin
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Genetic circuitry controlling motility behaviors of Myxococcus xanthus. Bioessays 2008 Aug;30(8):733-43



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-48949097122   17 Citations


M. xanthus has a complex multicellular lifestyle including swarming, predation and development. These behaviors depend on the ability of the cells to achieve directed motility across solid surfaces. M. xanthus cells have evolved two motility systems including Type-IV pili that act as grappling hooks and a controversial engine involving mucus secretion and fixed focal adhesion sites. The necessity for cells to coordinate the motility systems and to respond rapidly to environmental cues is reflected by a complex genetic network involving at least three complete sets of chemosensory systems and eukaryotic-like signaling proteins. In this review, we discuss recent advances suggesting that motor synchronization results from spatial oscillations of motility proteins. We further propose that these dynamics are modulated by the action of multiple upstream complementary signaling systems. M. xanthus is thus an exciting emerging model system to study the intricate processes of directed cell migration.

Author List

Mignot T, Kirby JR


John Kirby PhD Chair, Center Associate Director, Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Bacterial Adhesion
Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
Bacterial Proteins
Cell Movement
Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
Genes, Bacterial
Models, Biological
Models, Genetic
Myxococcus xanthus
Signal Transduction