The tiny water bacterium Caulobacter crescentus secretes a sugary substance so sticky that just a tiny bit could hold several cars together. First, it attaches to a surface at the end of its cell body, which has a propeller-like flagellum. On contact, the flagellum stops moving with help from nearby cable-like structures called pili. This arrest stimulates production of the sugary adhesive, which then is released at the attachment site and immediately binds the cell to the surface. Since binding helps some bacteria form slimy residues and hard-to-treat infections, knowing how this occurs could help us better understand how to treat and prevent such outcomes. Read more...
Featured in the January 19, 2012, issue of Biomedical Beat.
Learn more in the extended caption published on LiveScience .