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Trends Microbiol. 2018 Jul;26(7):575-581. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2017.11.010. Epub 2017 Dec 16.

Bacterial Flagellins: Does Size Matter?

Author information

1
Quadram Institute, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7UA, UK.
2
Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College, London, UK.
3
Quadram Institute, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7UA, UK. Electronic address: mark.pallen@quadram.ac.uk.

Abstract

The bacterial flagellum is the principal organelle of motility in bacteria. Here, we address the question of size when applied to the chief flagellar protein flagellin and the flagellar filament. Surprisingly, nature furnishes multiple examples of 'giant flagellins' greater than a thousand amino acids in length, with large surface-exposed hypervariable domains. We review the contexts in which these giant flagellins occur, speculate as to their functions, and highlight the potential for biotechnology to build on what nature provides.

KEYWORDS:

bacterial flagellum; evolution; flagellin; surface display

PMID:
29258714
DOI:
10.1016/j.tim.2017.11.010

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