Some bacteria move by attaching and then retracting pili through their outer membranes.
"Gliding motion across surfaces, usually with slime--whether or not by the same scheme--occurs in procaryotic organisms (bacteria and their kin) as well. It's based on either of two mechanisms. Bacteria are often covered with tiny hairs, pili; retraction of one type (designated IV) through their outer membranes can move them around. Alternatively, they can secrete carbohydrate slime rearward to get a push (Kaiser 2000; Merz and Forest 2002)." (Vogel 2003:450)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Kaiser, D. 2000. Bacterial motility: how do pili pull?. Current Biology. 10(21): R777-R780.
- Merz, AJ; Forest, KT. 2002. Bacterial surface motility: slime trails, grappling hooks, and nozzles. Current Biology. 12: R297-R303.
- Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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