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Electron Cryo-Tomography of Nanowires in Shewanella Oneidensis MR-1

Subramanian, Poorna and Pirbadian, Sahand and El-Naggar, Mohamed Y. and Jensen, Grant J. (2016) Electron Cryo-Tomography of Nanowires in Shewanella Oneidensis MR-1. Biophysical Journal, 110 (3). 23A. ISSN 0006-3495. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2015.11.185.

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The dissimilatory metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 is known to make ‘nanowires,’ conductive cell appendages used in electron transport. Novel live fluorescence imaging techniques recently clarified that the conductive filaments in S. oneidensis are not pili, as previously thought, but rather extensions of the outer membrane. However, their fine structure and mechanism remained unclear. Here, we report the first high-resolution in vivo images of nanowires in frozen-hydrated cells in a near-native state by electron cryo-tomography (ECT). We first developed a method for in vivo production of nanowires in cells grown on EM grids. Using correlative light microscopy and ECT, we then identified and imaged nanowires at high resolution and in three dimensions. Interestingly, we find that nanowires are composed of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) strung together to form a chain. The size of the vesicles and the length and thickness of the vesicle chain are highly variable. However, even apparently smooth filaments such as those described previously are in fact, at higher resolution, revealed to be chains of OMVs. This work will help us investigate the electron transport mechanism along Shewanella nanowires. Additionally, this work has implications in understanding how OMVs, ubiquitous in Gram-negative bacteria, can assemble into chains.

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Jensen, Grant J.0000-0003-1556-4864
Additional Information:© 2016 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160603-154022255
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Official Citation:Poorna Subramanian, Sahand Pirbadian, Mohamed Y. El-Naggar, Grant J. Jensen, Electron Cryo-Tomography of Nanowires in Shewanella Oneidensis MR-1, Biophysical Journal, Volume 110, Issue 3, Supplement 1, 16 February 2016, Page 23a, ISSN 0006-3495, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:67661
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Jun 2016 17:37
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 03:52

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