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J Mol Biol. 2011 Nov 18;414(1):62-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2011.09.019. Epub 2011 Oct 1.

Mutations targeting the C-terminal domain of FliG can disrupt motor assembly in the Na(+)-driven flagella of Vibrio alginolyticus.

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Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-8602, Japan.


The torque of the bacterial flagellar motor is generated by the rotor-stator interaction coupled with specific ion translocation through the stator channel. To produce a fully functional motor, multiple stator units must be properly incorporated around the rotor by an as yet unknown mechanism to engage the rotor-stator interactions. Here, we investigated stator assembly using a mutational approach of the Na(+)-driven polar flagellar motor of Vibrio alginolyticus, whose stator is localized at the flagellated cell pole. We mutated a rotor protein, FliG, which is located at the C ring of the basal body and closely participates in torque generation, and found that point mutation L259Q, L270R or L271P completely abolishes both motility and polar localization of the stator without affecting flagellation. Likewise, mutations V274E and L279P severely affected motility and stator assembly. Those residues are localized at the core of the globular C-terminal domain of FliG when mapped onto the crystal structure of FliG from Thermotoga maritima, which suggests that those mutations induce quite large structural alterations at the interface responsible for the rotor-stator interaction. These results show that the C-terminal domain of FliG is critical for the proper assembly of PomA/PomB stator complexes around the rotor and probably functions as the target of the stator at the rotor side.

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