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J Bacteriol. 1989 Mar;171(3):1467-75.

Identification and sequence analysis of two related flagellin genes in Rhizobium meliloti.

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Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Universität Regensburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


The genomic region that codes for the flagellin subunits of the complex flagellar filaments of Rhizobium meliloti was cloned and sequenced. Two structural genes, flaA and flaB, that encode 395- and 396-amino-acid polypeptides, respectively, were identified. These exhibit 87% sequence identity. The amino acid sequences of tryptic peptides suggest that both of these subunit proteins are represented in the flagellar filaments. The N-terminal methionine was absent from the mature flagellin subunits. Their derived primary structures show almost no relationship to flagellins from Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, or Bacillus subtilis but exhibit up to 60% similarity to the N- and C-terminal portions of flagellin from Caulobacter crescentus. It is suggested that the complex flagellar filaments of R. meliloti are unique in being assembled from heterodimers of two related flagellin subunits. The tandemly arranged flagellin genes were shown to be transcribed separately from unusual promoter sequences.

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