Summary: The molecular weights of the flagellins of 13 strains of , each with a different H antigen, were estimated using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. In each case only one major polypeptide was demonstrated, although some strains possessed apparently sheathed flagella. Considerable differences in the molecular weight of flagellin accompanied the previously described structural differences between flagella from strains with different H antigens. The relationship between flagellar diameter and the molecular weight of the corresponding flagellins was similar for both unsheathed and apparently sheathed flagella. Cross-polymerization occurred between seed consisting of fragments of unsheathed flagella and flagellin solution from apparently sheathed flagella and vice versa. Co-polymerization of flagellin from unsheathed flagella and flagellin from apparently sheathed flagella was also demonstrated. These polymerization experiments indicate that the assembly pattern of flagellin molecules is probably the same in all flagella. The above and other evidence suggests that there is no true sheath, but that the differences in flagellar surface structure between different flagella are the result of differences in the superficial parts of the flagellin molecules.


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