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Published June 1994 | metadata_only
Journal Article

The Bacterial Flagellar Motor


It has been known for some time that bacterial flagella are powered by remarkable rotary motors and that flagellar rotation is energized by transmembrane-proton, or sodium, electrochemical gradients rather than ATP (7). Recently, a combined assault of genetic, biochemical, and biophysical approaches has laid the groundwork for elaboration of the molecular mechanism: (a) A set of proteins, defects in which abolish motor function, has been identified and their interactions are being characterized. (b) New structural components of flagellar bases that are likely to harbor the motor machinery have been visualized. (c) The steady-state relations between the electrochemical potentials, motor torque, and velocity have been determined in detail sufficient to constrain construction of explicit molecular models. This chapter reviews the current understanding of the operation of the bacterial flagellar motor in the light of emerging principles underlying motile phenomena and their regulation. General reviews on bacterial motility have been published (37, 41, 62). Caplan & Kari-Ivanov (18) have written a review on the flagellar motor, focused on analysis of motor models.

Additional Information

© 1994 by Annual Reviews Inc. We are grateful to all colleagues who submitted material in advance of publication and those who critiqued the manuscript. SCS was supported by a fellowship from the Max-Planck-Gessellschaft. SK was supported by the Barnard Davis summer fellowship from the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL and grant R01GM36936 from the National Institutes of Health).

Additional details

August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023