Journal article

Structure of the Bacterial Cellulose Ribbon and Its Assembly-Guiding Cytoskeleton by Electron Cryotomography

William J Nicolas, Debnath Ghosal, Elitza Tocheva, Elliot M Meyerowitz, Grant J Jensen

JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY | AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY | Published : 2021

Abstract

Cellulose is a widespread component of bacterial biofilms, where its properties of exceptional water retention, high tensile strength, and stiffness prevent dehydration and mechanical disruption of the biofilm. Bacteria in the genus Gluconacetobacter secrete crystalline cellulose, with a structure very similar to that found in plant cell walls. How this higher-order structure is produced is poorly understood. We used cryo-electron tomography and focused-ion-beam milling of native bacterial biofilms to image cellulose-synthesizing Gluconacetobacter hansenii and Gluconacetobacter xylinus bacteria in a frozen-hydrated, near-native state. We confirm previous results suggesting that cellulose cry..

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