Publication details.


Author(s):M. del Mar Aguilo-Feretjans, R. Bosch, R.J. Puxty, M. Latva, V. Zadjelovic, A. Chhun, D. Sousoni, M. Polin, D. Scanlan, J.A. Christie-Oleza
Title:Pili allow dominant marine cyanobacteria to avoid sinking and evade predation
Journal:Nature Communications
Issue No.:1857

How oligotrophic marine cyanobacteria position themselves in the water column is currently unknown. The current paradigm is that these organisms avoid sinking due to their reduced size and passive drift within currents. Here, we show that one in four picocyanobacteria encode a type IV pilus which allows these organisms to increase drag and remain suspended at optimal positions in the water column, as well as evade predation by grazers. The evolution of this sophisticated floatation mechanism in these purely planktonic streamlined micro- organisms has important implications for our current understanding of microbial distribution in the oceans and predatorprey interactions which ultimately will need incorporating into future models of marine carbon flux dynamics.

Related staff

  • Rafael Bosch Zaragoza
  • Joseph Alexander Chriestie de Oleza
  • Marco Polin
  • Related departments

  • Marine Ecology
  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity