2008 Volume 72 Issue 2 Pages 265-277
Sphingomonas species A1 is a newly identified pit-forming bacterium that directly incorporates a macromolecule (alginate) into its cytoplasm through a pit-dependent transport system, which we termed a superchannel. A pit is a novel, high-dimensional organ acquired through the fluidity and reconstitution of cell surface molecules, including flagellin, and through cooperation with the transport machinery in the cells, which confers upon bacterial cells a more efficient way to secure and assimilate macromolecules. The analysis of the superchannel changes general ideas regarding the fluidity and function of the cell surface, evolution and origin of cell-surface organs, including flagella, transport, and assimilation systems of macromolecules, and the divergence and energetics of metabolism.
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