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Detailed Glimpse Of Chemoreceptor Architecture In Bacterial Cells

Using state-of-the-art electron microscopy techniques, a team led by researchers from Caltech has for the first time visualized and described the precise arrangement of chemoreceptors—the receptors that sense and respond to chemical stimuli—in bacteria. In addition, they have found that this specific architecture is the same throughout a wide variety of bacterial species, which means that this is a stable, universal structure that has been conserved over evolutionary time.

Their research, which was published this week in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), may help scientists better understand the complex signaling pathways that are at the core of many biological processes.

Bacteria swim using flagella to propel themselves. But it's not as simple as that, explains Grant Jensen, associate professor of biology at Caltech and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), who led the team. After all, they need to decide where to swim. "They tend to swim toward a favorable environment, and away from a harsh environment," Jensen says.
 
 

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