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J Bacteriol. 2011 Jun;193(11):2695-707. doi: 10.1128/JB.01172-10. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Flagellin redundancy in Caulobacter crescentus and its implications for flagellar filament assembly.

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  • 1Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.


Bacterial flagella play key roles in surface attachment and host-bacterial interactions as well as driving motility. Here, we have investigated the ability of Caulobacter crescentus to assemble its flagellar filament from six flagellins: FljJ, FljK, FljL, FljM, FljN, and FljO. Flagellin gene deletion combinations exhibited a range of phenotypes from no motility or impaired motility to full motility. Characterization of the mutant collection showed the following: (i) that there is no strict requirement for any one of the six flagellins to assemble a filament; (ii) that there is a correlation between slower swimming speeds and shorter filament lengths in ΔfljK ΔfljM mutants; (iii) that the flagellins FljM to FljO are less stable than FljJ to FljL; and (iv) that the flagellins FljK, FljL, FljM, FljN, and FljO alone are able to assemble a filament.

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