Linda Turner Stern

Staff Scientist
Research Associate, Bacterial Behavior and Motility Lab
Rowland Institute at Harvard
Harvard University
100 Edwin H. Land Blvd
Cambridge MA 02142
Tel: 617-497-4658
Fax: 617-497-4627
Webpage: Linda Turner Stern

Thanks to Howard Berg I became interested in the motility of micro-organisms, especially how bacteria swim (run and tumble).  A bacterium is propelled by the flagellar bundle which is comprised of long thin helical filaments with each filament driven from its base by a reversible rotary (CW-CCW) motor.  The filament is especially fascinating to me - this remarkable structure changes helicity due to changes in sign of the applied motor torque.  These transformations are key to flagellar bundle dispersal during tumbling and bundle reformation while running.  The filament is composed of many copies of a single protein, called flagellin, arranged in a spiraling path on a cylindrical surface forming a hollow tube.  It grows through addition of new monomers at the distal tip: new subunits traverse the filament's hollow core before crystallizing under the tip's cap structure.  What limits filament length remains mysterious.  I enjoy thinking about filament growth and how a filament persists throughout many rounds of bacterial division, and how its shape transformations affect behavior.  I use fluorescent labeling and video microscopy as a means to understand the bacterial flagellar filament.

See Kelly Hughes and Fabienne Chevance's work for more information on flagellar biogenesis, and Chris Calledine for geometric arguments on filament helicity.

Selected Publications

Turner, L., Stern, A.S. and Berg, H.C. Growth of flagellar filaments is independent of filament length. J. Bacteriol. 194 (10), 2437-24421 (2012).

Turner, L., Zhang, R., Darnton, N.C., and Berg, H.C. Visualization of flagella during bacterial swarming. J. Bacteriol. 192, 3259-3267 (2010).

Darnton, N., Turner, L., Rojevsky, S. and Berg, H.C. On torque and tumbling in swimming Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 189, 1756-1764 (2007).

DiLuzio, W.R., Turner, L, Mayer, M., Garstecki, P., Weibel, D.B., Berg, H.C. and Whitesides, G.M. Escherichia coli swim on the right-hand side. Nature 435, 1271-4 (2005).

Turner, L., Ryu, W.S. and Berg, H.C. Real-time imaging of fluorescent flagellar filaments. J. Bacteriol. 182, 2793-2801 (2000).

For a complete list of publications.