When Pseudomonas aeruginosa’s thread-like pilus touches down on a surface, it activates PilT, a motor that retracts the pilus and moves the cell. Unattached pili rarely retract, indicating that surface contact provides a signal for its motors to move. But the mechanism that activates the motor is still unknown.

© Kelly Finan

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living with bacteria 2019 the scientist june issue

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