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J Mol Biol. 1985 Aug 20;184(4):735-7.

"Cap" on the tip of Salmonella flagella.


Flagellar filaments isolated intact from a Salmonella short-flagella mutant are unable to serve as nuclei for flagellin polymerization in vitro, whereas the filaments reconstructed in vitro from the mutant flagellin are able to do so. The inability of intact flagella to nucleate flagellin polymerization appears to be common to wild-type bacteria and thus suggests that the tip of intact flagella are generally inactivated or capped in vivo. Careful observations of the tips of intact flagella and reconstructed flagellar filaments of a wild-type species have revealed marked difference between them: the intact flagella usually have blunt ends, whereas reconstructed filaments have concave, "fish-tail" ends. Moreover, a thin structure is often observed attaching to the very end of the intact flagella. We suspect that this "capping" structure is essential to the elongation mechanism of flagellar filaments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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