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Nature. 1992 Jan 9;355(6356):182-4.

Polar and lateral flagellar motors of marine Vibrio are driven by different ion-motive forces.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Nagoya University, Japan.


Various species of marine Vibrio produce two distinct types of flagella, each adapted for a different type of motility. A single, sheathed polar flagellum is suited for swimming in liquid medium, and numerous unsheathed lateral flagella, which are produced only under viscous conditions, are suited for swarming over viscous surfaces. Both types of flagella are driven by reversible motors embedded in the cytoplasmic membrane. Here we report that the energy source for the polar flagellar motor of Vibrio parahaemolyticus is the sodium-motive force, whereas the lateral flagellar motors are driven by the proton-motive force. This is evidence that two distinct types of flagella powered by different energy sources are functionally active in one cell.

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