Measurement of the elasticity of the actin tail of Listeria monocytogenes

Fabien Gerbal, Valérie Laurent, Albrecht Ott, Marie France Carlier, Paul Chaikin, Jacques Prost

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We report biophysical experiments performed on the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, a model system to study actin-based motility. Using optical tweezers and electrophoresis experiments, we find that the bacterium is firmly attached to its tail, and we demonstrate that the tail responds as an elastic gel when deformed. We have measured its elastic modulus at a value of 103-104 Pa, which is 10 times higher than the rigidity of the eukaryotic cytoplasm. These results demonstrate that the bacterium and its tail form a very robust system, consistent with the steadyness of the motion observed in vivo. We propose an elastic model for the propulsion mechanism which takes into account the connection and thus the interaction between the actin filaments. It provides a generic description of the various aspects of actin-tail based movements.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)134-140
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Biophysics Journal
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2000


    • Actin gel
    • Cell mechanics
    • Cell motility
    • Elasticity
    • Listeria monocytogenes
    • Optical tweezers

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biophysics


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