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J Bacteriol. 1993 Apr;175(8):2236-40.

Mechanism of adverse conditions causing lack of flagella in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.


Escherichia coli lacks flagella when grown in tryptone broth in the presence of various adverse conditions (C. Li, C. J. Louise, W. Shi, and J. Adler, J. Bacteriol. 175:2229-2235, 1993). Now, the synthesis, rather than the degradation, of flagellin was shown to be inhibited. Studies of transcriptional fusions of flagellar operons to the lacZ gene revealed that transcription of the flagellar genes was reduced in cells grown under these adverse conditions. Increasing gene dosage of the flhD operon by a plasmid partially suppressed the nonflagellation caused by some adverse conditions. The signal which shuts off the synthesis of flagella under adverse conditions remains to be discovered. This shutting-off process does not result from catabolite repression or from signals from the chemotaxis system.

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