Chemotactic responses in which has lateral and polar flagellar systems in one cell, were investigated. A lateral-flagella-defective (Pof Laf) mutant, which has only a polar flagellum, usually swam forward by the pushing action of its flagellum and occasionally changed direction by backward swimming. When the repellent phenol was added, Pof Laf cells moved frequently forward and backward (tumbling state). The tumbling was derived from the frequent changing between counter-clockwise and clockwise (CW) rotation of the flagellar motor, as was confirmed by the tethered-cell method. Furthermore, we found that the tumbling cells did not adapt to the phenol stimulus. When the attractant serine was added, the phenol-treated cells ceased tumbling and swam smoothly, adapting to the attractant stimulus after several minutes. We isolated chemotaxis-defective (Che) mutants from the Pof Laf mutant; the tumbling mutants were not isolated. One interesting mutant swam backwards continuously, with its flagellum leading the cell and its flagellar motor rotating CW continuously. A polar-flagella-defective mutant (Pof Laf) stopped swimming after phenol addition and then recovered swimming ability within 10 min, indicating that lateral flagella can adapt to the repellent stimulus. This may represent a functional difference between the two flagellar systems in cells, and between the chemotaxis systems affecting the two types of flagella.

Keyword(s): che mutants , chemotaxis , flagella and Vibrio

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