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J Mol Biol. 2003 Apr 11;327(5):1043-51.

Torque-speed relationship of the Na+-driven flagellar motor of Vibrio alginolyticus.

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Department of Biophysical Engineering, Osaka University, 1-3, Machikaneyama, Toyonaka, 560-8531, Osaka, Japan.


The torque-speed relationship of the Na(+)-driven flagellar motor of Vibrio alginolyticus was investigated. The rotation rate of the motor was measured by following the position of a bead, attached to a flagellar filament, using optical nanometry. In the presence of 50mM NaCl, the generated torque was relatively constant ( approximately 3800pNnm) at lower speeds (speeds up to approximately 300Hz) and then decreased steeply, similar to the H(+)-driven flagellar motor of Escherichia coli. When the external NaCl concentration was varied, the generated torque of the flagellar motor was changed over a wide range of speeds. This result could be reproduced using a simple kinetic model, which takes into consideration the association and dissociation of Na(+) onto the motor. These results imply that for a complete understanding of the mechanism of flagellar rotation it is essential to consider both the electrochemical gradient and the absolute concentration of the coupling ion.

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