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Swarming motility

swarming motility, swarming motility proteus mirabilis
Swarming motility is a rapid 2–10 μm/s and coordinated translocation of a bacterial population across solid or semi-solid surfaces, and is an example of bacterial multicellularity and swarm behaviour Swarming motility was first reported by Jorgen Henrichsen and has been mostly studied in genus Serratia, Salmonella, Aeromonas, Bacillus, Yersinia, Pseudomonas, Proteus, Vibrio and Escherichia

Pseudomonas aeruginosa swarming motility Bacteria of the species /Bacillus subtilis/ were inoculated at the center of a dish with gelose containing nutrients The bacteria start mass-migrating outwards about twelve hours after inoculation, forming dendrites which reach the border of the dish diameter 90mm within a few hours Two days after inoculation the number of bacteria has increased so much that they diffuse light significantly and appear white This picture was taken against a lightsource to make the dendrites white branched structures clearly stand out

This multicellular behavior has been mostly observed in controlled laboratory conditions and relies on two critical elements: 1 the nutrient composition and 2 viscosity of culture medium ie % agar One particular feature of this type of motility is the formation of dendritic fractal-like patterns formed by migrating swarms moving away from an initial location Although the majority of species can produce tendrils when swarming, some species like Proteus mirabilis do form concentric circles motif instead of dendritic patterns


  • 1 Biosurfactant, quorum sensing and swarming
  • 2 Cellular differentiation
  • 3 Ecological significance
  • 4 References

Biosurfactant, quorum sensing and swarming

In some species, swarming motility requires the self-production of biosurfactant to occur Biosurfactant synthesis is usually under the control of an intercellular communication system called quorum sensing Biosurfactant molecules are thought to act by lowering surface tension, thus permitting bacteria to move across a surface

Cellular differentiation

Swarming bacteria undergo morphological differentiation that distinguish them from their planktonic state Cells localized at migration front are typically hyperelongated, hyperflagellated and grouped in multicellular raft structures

Ecological significance

The fundamental role of swarming motility remains unknown However, it has been observed that active swarming bacteria of Salmonella typhimurium shows an elevated resistance to certain antibiotics compared to undifferentiated cells


  1. ^ Harshey, Rasika M 2003-01-01 "Bacterial Motility on a Surface: Many Ways to a Common Goal" Annual Review of Microbiology 57 1: 249–273 doi:101146/annurevmicro57030502091014 PMID 14527279 
  2. ^ Henrichsen, J 1972 "Bacterial surface translocation: a survey and a classification" PDF Bacteriological reviews 36 4: 478–503 PMC 408329 PMID 4631369 
  3. ^ Alberti, L; Harshey, RM 1990 "Differentiation of Serratia marcescens 274 into swimmer and swarmer cells" Journal of Bacteriology 172 8: 4322–8 PMC 213257 PMID 2198253 
  4. ^ Eberl, L; Molin, S; Givskov, M 1999 "Surface Motility of Serratia liquefaciens MG1" Journal of Bacteriology 181 6: 1703–12 PMC 93566 PMID 10074060 
  5. ^ a b c Harshey, Rasika M 1994 "Bees aren't the only ones: swarming in Gram-negative bacteria" Molecular Microbiology 13 3: 389–94 doi:101111/j1365-29581994tb00433x PMID 7997156 
  6. ^ Kirov, S M; Tassell, B C; Semmler, A B T; O'Donovan, L A; Rabaan, A A; Shaw, J G 2002 "Lateral Flagella and Swarming Motility in Aeromonas Species" Journal of Bacteriology 184 2: 547–55 doi:101128/JB1842547-5552002 PMC 139559 PMID 11751834 
  7. ^ Kearns, Daniel B; Losick, Richard 2004 "Swarming motility in undomesticated Bacillus subtilis" Molecular Microbiology 49 3: 581–90 doi:101046/j1365-2958200303584x PMID 12864845 
  8. ^ Young, GM; Smith, MJ; Minnich, SA; Miller, VL 1999 "The Yersinia enterocolitica Motility Master Regulatory Operon, flhDC, Is Required for Flagellin Production, Swimming Motility, and Swarming Motility" Journal of Bacteriology 181 9: 2823–33 PMC 93725 PMID 10217774 
  9. ^ Deziel, E; L�pine, F; Milot, S; Villemur, R 2003 "rhlA is required for the production of a novel biosurfactant promoting swarming motility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: 3-3-hydroxyalkanoyloxyalkanoic acids HAAs, the precursors of rhamnolipids" Microbiology 149 Pt 8: 2005–13 doi:101099/mic026154-0 PMID 12904540  replacement character in |last2= at position 2 help
  10. ^ Tremblay, Julien; Richardson, Anne-Pascale; L�pine, François; D�ziel, Eric 2007 "Self-produced extracellular stimuli modulate the Pseudomonas aeruginosa swarming motility behaviour" Environmental Microbiology 9 10: 2622–30 doi:101111/j1462-2920200701396x PMID 17803784  replacement character in |last3= at position 2 help; replacement character in |last4= at position 2 help
  11. ^ a b K�hler, T; Curty, LK; Barja, F; Van Delden, C; Pech�re, JC 2000 "Swarming of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Is Dependent on Cell-to-Cell Signaling and Requires Flagella and Pili" Journal of Bacteriology 182 21: 5990–6 doi:101128/JB182215990-59962000 PMC 94731 PMID 11029417  replacement character in |last1= at position 2 help; replacement character in |last5= at position 5 help
  12. ^ a b Rashid, MH; Kornberg, A 2000 "Inorganic polyphosphate is needed for swimming, swarming, and twitching motilities of Pseudomonas aeruginosa" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 97 9: 4885–90 doi:101073/pnas060030097 PMC 18327 PMID 10758151 
  13. ^ Caiazza, N C; Shanks, R M Q; O'Toole, G A 2005 "Rhamnolipids Modulate Swarming Motility Patterns of Pseudomonas aeruginosa" Journal of Bacteriology 187 21: 7351–61 doi:101128/JB187217351-73612005 PMC 1273001 PMID 16237018 
  14. ^ Rather, Philip N 2005 "Swarmer cell differentiation in Proteus mirabilis" Environmental Microbiology 7 8: 1065–73 doi:101111/j1462-2920200500806x PMID 16011745 
  15. ^ McCarter, L; Silverman, M 1990 "Surface-induced swarmer cell differentiation of Vibrio parahaemoiyticus" Molecular Microbiology 4 7: 1057–62 doi:101111/j1365-29581990tb00678x PMID 2233248 
  16. ^ McCarter, Linda L 2004 "Dual Flagellar Systems Enable Motility under Different Circumstances" Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology 7 1–2: 18–29 doi:101159/000077866 PMID 15170400 
  17. ^ Harshey, RM; Matsuyama, T 1994 "Dimorphic transition in Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium: surface-induced differentiation into hyperflagellate swarmer cells" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 91 18: 8631–5 doi:101073/pnas91188631 PMC 44660 PMID 8078935 
  18. ^ Burkart, M; Toguchi, A; Harshey, RM 1998 "The chemotaxis system, but not chemotaxis, is essential for swarming motility in Escherichia coli" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95 5: 2568–73 doi:101073/pnas9552568 PMC 19416 PMID 9482927 
  19. ^ Daniels, Ruth; Vanderleyden, Jos; Michiels, Jan 2004 "Quorum sensing and swarming migration in bacteria" FEMS Microbiology Reviews 28 3: 261–89 doi:101016/jfemsre200309004 PMID 15449604 
  20. ^ Julkowska, D; Obuchowski, M; Holland, IB; S�ror, SJ 2004 "Branched swarming patterns on a synthetic medium formed by wild-type Bacillus subtilis strain 3610: detection of different cellular morphologies and constellations of cells as the complex architecture develops" Microbiology 150 Pt 6: 1839–49 doi:101099/mic027061-0 PMID 15184570  replacement character in |last4= at position 2 help
  21. ^ Hamze, K; Autret, S; Hinc, K; Laalami, S; Julkowska, D; Briandet, R; Renault, M; Absalon, C; Holland, I B 2011-01-01 "Single-cell analysis in situ in a Bacillus subtilis swarming community identifies distinct spatially separated subpopulations differentially expressing hag flagellin, including specialized swarmers" Microbiology 157 9: 2456–2469 doi:101099/mic0047159-0 
  22. ^ Kim, W; Killam, T; Sood, V; Surette, M G 2003 "Swarm-Cell Differentiation in Salmonellaenterica Serovar Typhimurium Results in Elevated Resistance to Multiple Antibiotics" Journal of Bacteriology 185 10: 3111–7 doi:101128/JB185103111-31172003 PMC 154059 PMID 12730171 

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    Swarming motility beatiful post thanks!


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