Direct measurement of cell wall stress stiffening and turgor pressure in live bacterial cells

Yi Deng, Mingzhai Sun, Joshua W. Shaevitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

116 Scopus citations

Abstract

We study intact and bulging Escherichia coli cells using atomic force microscopy to separate the contributions of the cell wall and turgor pressure to the overall cell stiffness. We find strong evidence of power-law stress stiffening in the E. coli cell wall, with an exponent of 1.22±0.12, such that the wall is significantly stiffer in intact cells (E=23±8MPa and 49±20MPa in the axial and circumferential directions) than in unpressurized sacculi. These measurements also indicate that the turgor pressure in living cells E. coli is 29±3kPa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number158101
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume107
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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