Techniques to measure pilus retraction forces

Nicolas Biais, Dustin Higashi, Magdalene So, Benoit Ladoux

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

13 Scopus citations


The importance of physical forces in biology is becoming more appreciated. Neisseria gonorrhoeaehas become a paradigm for the study of physical forces in the bacterial world. Cycles of elongations and retractions of Type IV pili enables N. gonorrhoeaebacteria to exert forces on its environment, forces that play major roles in the life cycle of this pathogen. In order to better understand the role of these forces, there is a need to fully characterize them. Here, we present two different techniques, optical tweezers and Polyacrylamide MicroPillars (PoMPs), for measuring pilus retraction forces. Initially designed for N. gonorrhoeae, these assays can be readily modified to study other pilus-bearing bacteria including Neisseria meningitidis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeisseria meningitidis
Subtitle of host publicationAdvanced Methods and Protocols
EditorsMyron Christodoulides
Number of pages20
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Neisseria
  • Optical tweezer
  • PoMPs
  • Retraction force
  • Type IV pilus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Techniques to measure pilus retraction forces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Biais, N., Higashi, D., So, M., & Ladoux, B. (2012). Techniques to measure pilus retraction forces. In M. Christodoulides (Ed.), Neisseria meningitidis: Advanced Methods and Protocols (pp. 197-216). (Methods in Molecular Biology; Vol. 799).