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    Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction

    Schuergers, N. and Lenn, T. and Kampmann, R. and Meissner, M.V. and Esteves, T. and Temerinac-Ott, M. and Korvink, J.G. and Lowe, Alan R. and Mullineaux, C.W. and Wilde, A. (2016) Cyanobacteria use micro-optics to sense light direction. eLife 5 , ISSN 2050-084X.

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    Abstract

    Bacterial phototaxis was first recognized over a century ago, but the method by which such small cells can sense the direction of illumination has remained puzzling. The unicellular cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 moves with Type IV pili and measures light intensity and color with a range of photoreceptors. Here, we show that individual Synechocystis cells do not respond to a spatiotemporal gradient in light intensity, but rather they directly and accurately sense the position of a light source. We show that directional light sensing is possible because Synechocystis cells act as spherical microlenses, allowing the cell to see a light source and move towards it. A high-resolution image of the light source is focused on the edge of the cell opposite to the source, triggering movement away from the focused spot. Spherical cyanobacteria are probably the world’s smallest and oldest example of a camera eye.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Biological Sciences
    Research Centre: Structural Molecular Biology, Institute of (ISMB)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2016 13:22
    Last Modified: 27 Apr 2018 08:31
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/14535

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