1887

Abstract

Motility driven by rotational movement of flagella allows bacteria and archaea to seek favourable conditions and escape toxic ones. However, archaeal flagella share structural similarities with bacterial type IV pili rather than bacterial flagella. The genome contains two flagellin genes, and . While FlgA1 has been shown to be a major flagellin, the function of FlgA2 is elusive. In this study, it was determined that although FlgA2 by itself does not confer motility to non-motile Δ, a subset of these mutant cells contains a flagellum. Consistent with FlgA2 being assembled into functional flagella, FlgA1 expressed from a plasmid can only complement a Δ strain when co-expressed with chromosomal or plasmid-encoded FlgA2. Surprisingly, a mutant strain lacking FlgA2, but expressing chromosomally encoded FlgA1, is hypermotile, a phenotype that is accompanied by an increased number of flagella per cell, as well as an increased flagellum length. Site-directed mutagenesis resulting in early translational termination of suggests that the hypermotility of the Δ strain is not due to transcriptional regulation. This, and the fact that plasmid-encoded FlgA2 expression in a Δ strain does not reduce its hypermotility, suggests a possible regulatory role for FlgA2 that depends on the relative abundance of FlgA1. Taken together, our results indicate that FlgA2 plays both structural and regulatory roles in flagella-dependent motility. Future studies will build upon the data presented here to elucidate the significance of the hypermotility of this Δ mutant, and will illuminate the regulation and function of archaeal flagella.

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2013-11-01
2022-01-25
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