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J Bacteriol. 2006 Oct;188(19):6995-7004.

FlhF is required for swimming and swarming in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.


FlhF is a signal recognition particle-like protein present in monotrichous bacteria. The loss of FlhF in various bacteria results in decreased transcription of class II, III, or IV flagellar genes, leads to diminished or absent motility, and results in the assembly of flagella at nonpolar locations on the cell surface. In this work, we demonstrate that the loss of FlhF results in defective swimming and swarming motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The FlhF protein localizes to the flagellar pole; in the absence of FlhF, flagellar assembly occurs but is no longer restricted to the pole. DeltaflhF bacteria swim at lower velocities than wild-type bacteria in liquid media and can no longer swarm when assayed under standard swarming conditions (0.5% agar). However, DeltaflhF bacteria regain swarming behavior when plated on 0.3% agar. DeltaflhF organisms show decreased transcription and expression of flagellin (FliC) both in liquid media and on swarming plates compared to wild-type bacteria. However, changes in flagellin expression do not explain the different motility patterns observed for DeltaflhF bacteria. Instead, the aberrant placement of flagella in DeltaflhF bacteria may reduce their ability to move this rod-shaped organism effectively.

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