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J Bacteriol. 1991 Aug;173(15):4757-64.

Role of two flagellin genes in Campylobacter motility.

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Enteric Diseases Program, Naval Medical Research Institute, Rockville, Maryland 20852.


Campylobacter coli VC167 T2 has two flagellin genes, flaA and flaB, which share 91.9% sequence identity. The flaA gene is transcribed from a o-28 promoter, and the flaB gene from a o-54 promoter. Gene replacement mutagenesis techniques were used to generate flaA+ flaB and flaA flaB+ mutants. Both gene products are capable of assembling independently into functional filaments. A flagellar filament composed exclusively of the flaA gene product is indistinguishable in length from that of the wild type and shows a slight reduction in motility. The flagellar filament composed exclusively of the flaB gene product is severely truncated in length and greatly reduced in motility. Thus, while both flagellins are not necessary for motility, both products are required for a fully active flagellar filament. Although the wild-type flagellar filament is a heteropolymer of the flaA and flaB gene products, immunogold electron microscopy suggests that flaB epitopes are poorly surface exposed along the length of the wild-type filament.

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