Synechococcus is genus of unicellular, photosynthetic cyanobactera ubiquitous in the euphotic (well-lit) zone of the world's oceans (Ehlers and Oster 2012). It is difficult to determine exactly how many species are included in this complex of ovoid to cylindrical cells; morphologically they are very similar but there is a large amount of genetic diversity and differences in biochemistry suggest there are at least five clusters of species (Wikipedia).
Approximately one third of the individuals isolated from the open ocean are motile (can actively move). An individual moves through seawater at speeds of 5 to 25 m/s while rotating about its long axis at about 1 Hz It accomplishes this despite the complete absence of any observable motile apparatus such as flagella (Ehlers and Oster 2012). Recent work supports the idea that waves are created on the surface of the cell using a helical rotor mechanism similar to that responsible for gliding in the soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus (Nan et al. 2011).
- Ehlers K, Oster G (2012) On the Mysterious Propulsion of Synechococcus. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036081
- Nan B, Chen J, Neu JC, Berry RM, Oster G, et al. (2011) Myxobacteria gliding motility requires cytoskeleton rotation powered by proton motive force. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 2498–2503.
- Synechococcus. (2012, May 5). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:53, June 7, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Synechococcus&oldid=490859276
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