Resources Directory
Research Associate

Abhishek Shrivastava

Research Associate


I am interested in studying nanometer sized machineries that are used by microorganisms for navigation and sensing of external surfaces. Bacteria that swim are driven forward by helical filaments that rotate like propellers. The number and location of filaments vary among different bacteria, yet the core mechanism remains the same. In contrast, motile but non-swimming bacteria do not have propellers, yet they achieve efficient self- propulsion over surfaces. Such movement is divided into two categories: (i) twitching and (ii) gliding. Twitching involves the extension and retraction of type IV pili and gliding involves movement of cell-surface adhesins along the length of a cell. Gliding bacteria, which have been a major focus of my research, are present in the human oral microbiome. They are important components of human polymicrobial biofilms that increase the risk of periodontal diseases. Gliding bacteria have a rotary motor that generates high torque (Shrivastava et al. Curr. Biol. 2015). Using the type IX protein secretion system (T9SS) gliding bacteria secrete cell-surface adhesins (Shrivastava et al. J. Bacteriol. 2013). With the help of the rotary motor the cell-surface adhesins move spirally along the length of a cell. A gliding bacterium works as a self-propelled screw, with a cell-surface adhesin moving along its external threads (Shrivastava et al., Biophysical J., 2016).

Selected Publications

  1. The screw-like motion of a gliding bacterium is powered by spiral motion of cell- surface adhesins. Shrivastava A*, Roland T and Berg H. C*. Biophysical Journal, 2016; 111, 1008-1003. *Corresponding author. Featured on the cover of 9/6/16 issue.
  2. The flagellar motor of Caulobacter crescentus generates more torque when a cell swims backward. Lele P. P., Roland T., Shrivastava A, Chen Y and Berg H. C. Nature Physics. 2016; 12, 175-178.
  3. Towards a model for Flavobacterium gliding.
    Shrivastava A. and Berg H. C., Current Opinion in Microbiology. 2015 October, 28: 93-97.
  4. Response thresholds in bacterial chemotaxis.
    Lele P. P., Shrivastava A, Roland T and Berg H.C. Science Advances. 2015; 1(9) e1500299.
  5. A rotary motor drives Flavobacterium gliding. Shrivastava A, Lele P. P. and Berg H. C., Current Biology, 2015; 25(3): 338- 341. Featured by Harvard Gazette, MCB News,
  6. Flavobacterium johnsoniae GldK, GldL, GldM, and SprA are required for secretion of the cell-surface gliding motility adhesins SprB and RemA. Shrivastava A, Johnston J. J., van Baaren J. M. and McBride M. J., Journal of Bacteriology, 2013; 195(14): 3201-3212.
  7. Flavobacterium johnsoniae RemA is a mobile cell surface lectin involved in gliding. Shrivastava A, Rhodes R. G., Nakane D, Pochiraju S and McBride M. J., Journal of Bacteriology, 2012; 194(14):3678-88.
  8. Flavobacterium johnsoniae gldN and gldO are partially redundant genes required for gliding motility and surface localization of SprB.Rhodes R.G., Samarasan M.N., Shrivastava A, van Barren J. M., Pochiraju S, Bolampalli S and McBride M. J., Journal of Bacteriology, 2010; 192(5):1201- 11.