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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1985 Dec;82(24):8767-70.

"Frizzy" genes of Myxococcus xanthus are involved in control of frequency of reversal of gliding motility.


Myxococcus xanthus, a Gram-negative bacterium, has a complex life cycle that includes fruiting body formation. Frizzy (frz) mutants are unable to aggregate normally, instead forming frizzy filamentous aggregates. We have found that these mutants are defective in the control of cell reversal during gliding motility. Wild-type cells reverse their direction of gliding about every 6.8 min; net movement occurs since the interval between reversals can vary widely. The frzA-C, -E and -F mutants reverse their direction of movement very rarely, about once every 2 hr. These mutants cannot aggregate normally and give rise to frizzy filamentous colonies on fruiting agar or motility agar. In contrast, frzD mutants reverse their direction of movement very frequently, about once every 2.2 min; individual cells show little net movement and form smooth-edged "nonmotile" type colonies. Genetic analysis of the frzD locus shows that mutations in this locus can be dominant to the wild-type allele and that its gene product(s) must interact with the other frz gene products. Our results suggest that the frz genes are part of a system responsible for directed movement of this organism.

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