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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1990 Feb 28;167(1):154-60.

Conserved N-terminal sequences in the flagellins of archaebacteria.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Methanococcus voltae produces two flagellins of molecular weight 31,000 and 33,000. Amino acid analysis as well as peptide mapping with cyanogen bromide, chymotrypsin and Staphylococcus aureus V-8 protease indicates that the two flagellins are distinct. N-terminal sequencing of the 31,000 Mc. voltae flagellin as well as the 24,000 and 25,000 molecular weight flagellins of Methanospirillum hungatei GP1 shows an extensive homology with the reported N-terminus of the flagellins from Halobacterium halobium, deduced from the nucleotide sequence of the cloned genes. However, the N-termini of all three sequenced methanogen flagellins lack a terminal methionine and start at position 13 from the N-terminus of H. halobium flagellins. This initial 12 amino acid stretch may be a leader peptide which is subsequently cleaved to generate the mature flagellin, which could suggest flagellar assembly in archaebacteria occurs by a mechanism distinct from that in eubacteria. The high degree of conservation of the N-terminus of the flagellins from Mc. voltae, Msp. hungatei and H. halobium suggests an important role for this sequence, and that the archaebacteria share a common mechanism for flagellar biosynthesis.

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