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Biophys J. 2013 Jul 2;105(1):182-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.05.030.

Single-file diffusion of flagellin in flagellar filaments.

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1
Rowland Institute at Harvard, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

A bacterial flagellar filament is a cylindrical crystal of a protein known as flagellin. Flagellin subunits travel from the cytoplasm through a 2 nm axial pore and polymerize at the filament's distal end. They are supplied by a pump in the cell membrane powered by a proton-motive force. In a recent experiment, it was observed that growth proceeded at a rate of approximately one subunit every 2 s. Here, we asked whether transport of subunits through the pore at this rate could be effected by single-file diffusion, which we simulated by a random walk on a one-dimensional lattice. Assuming that the subunits are α-helical, the answer is yes, by a comfortable margin.

PMID:
23823237
PMCID:
PMC3699742
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2013.05.030
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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