Poudel, S., et al., 2019. Frontiers in Microbiology

Integrated proteomics and lipidomics reveal that the swarming motility of Paenibacillus polymyxa is characterized by phospholipid modification, surfactant deployment, and flagellar specialization relative to swimming motility

Suresh Poudel, Richard J. Giannone, Abigail T. Farmer, Shawn R. Campagna, Amber N. Bible, Jennifer L. Morrell-Falvey, James G. Elkins, and Robert L. Hettich
19 November 2019, Frontiers in Microbiology 10:2594; doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02594


Paenibacillus polymyxa is a Gram-positive bacterium commonly found associated with plant roots.  P. polymyxa can exhibit two forms of flagellar motility: swimming in liquid culture and swarming on a surface.  Here, swimming cells were compared to swarming cells using an integrated proteomic and lipidomic approach, yielding information about how lipid modifications and protein/enzyme pathways are tailored for these specific phenotypes.  Observed differences in both phospholipid composition and metabolism between the two conditions suggest membrane remodeling in response to the surrounding environment.  Key enzymes involved in glycerophospholipid metabolism were abundant in swimming bacteria, while enzymes associated with glycerol-3-phosphate metabolism were more abundant in swarming bacteria.  Several glycoside hydrolases were either unique to or more abundant during swarming.  This likely reflects the degradation of their own exopolysaccharides to both enhance swarming and supply the necessary chemical energy to compensate for increased flagellar synthesis.  The observed upregulation of biosynthetic gene clusters (polyketides, lantibiotics, and surfactin) in swarming bacteria suggest the importance of signaling, antimicrobial activity, and surfactin production during this mode of motility – the latter of which is confirmed via PCR.


Poudel S, Giannone RJ, Farmer AT, Campagna SR, Bible AN, Morrell-Falvey JL, Elkins JG and Hettich RL (2019) Integrated Proteomics and Lipidomics Reveal That the Swarming Motility of Paenibacillus polymyxa Is Characterized by Phospholipid Modification, Surfactant Deployment, and Flagellar Specialization Relative to Swimming Motility. Front. Microbiol. 10:2594. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02594

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