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Identification and topographical characterization of microbial nanowires in Nostoc punctiforme

Sure Sandeep, Torriero Angel AJ, Gaur Aditya, Li Lu Hua, Chen Ying, Tripathi Chandrakant , Adholeya Alok , Ackland M Leigh , Kochar Mandira , 2016

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek: (Online):1-6p.

Abstract

Extracellular pili-like structures (PLS) produced by cyanobacteria have been poorly explored. We have done detailed topographical and electrical characterisation of PLS in Nostoc punctiforme PCC 73120 using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and conductive atomic force microscopy (CAFM). TEM analysis showed that N. punctiforme produces two separate types of PLS differing in their length and diameter. The first type of PLS are 6–7.5 nm in diameter and 0.5–2 lm in length (short/thin PLS) while the second type of PLS are *20–40 nm in diameter and more than 10 lm long (long/thick PLS). This is the first study to report long/thick PLS in N. punctiforme. Electrical characterisation of these two different PLS by CAFM showed that both are electrically conductive and can act as microbial nanowires. This is the first report to show two distinct PLS and also identifies microbial nanowires in N. punctiforme. This study paves the way for more detailed investigation of N. punctiforme nanowires and their potential role in cell physiology and symbiosis with plants.

Keyword(s)

Cyanobacteria, Microbial nanowires