Last updated on April 25, 2014 at 1:22 EDT
How Escherichia coli Move
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How Escherichia coli Move

July 26, 2010
Escherichia coli use long, whip-like structures called flagella to propel themselves. Motors in the cell's wall spin the flagella into bundles that rotate counter-clockwise, creating a twist that causes the bacterium to rotate clockwise, or towards the right when viewed from above.

Insight into bacterial micro-movement will benefit scientists and engineers developing nano-scale mechanical devices that may one day push fluids and transport molecules without the aid of pumps or electrical charges. The findings may also help elucidate how pathogens traverse the human body when causing disease.