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Putative channel components for the fast-rotating sodium-driven flagellar motor of a marine bacterium.

By Y Asai, S Kojima, H Kato, N Nishioka, I Kawagishi and M Homma


The polar flagellum of Vibrio alginolyticus rotates remarkably fast (up to 1,700 revolutions per second) by using a motor driven by sodium ions. Two genes, motX and motY, for the sodium-driven flagellar motor have been identified in marine bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. alginolyticus. They have no similarity to the genes for proton-driven motors, motA and motB, whose products constitute a proton channel. MotX was proposed to be a component of a sodium channel. Here we identified additional sodium motor genes, pomA and pomB, in V. alginolyticus. Unexpectedly, PomA and PomB have similarities to MotA and MotB, respectively, especially in the predicted transmembrane regions. These results suggest that PomA and PomB may be sodium-conducting channel components of the sodium-driven motor and that the motor part consists of the products of at least four genes, pomA, pomB, motX, and motY. Furthermore, swimming speed was controlled by the expression level of the pomA gene, suggesting that newly synthesized PomA proteins, which are components of a force-generating unit, were successively integrated into the defective motor complexes. These findings imply that Na+-driven flagellar motors may have similar structure and function as proton-driven motors, but with some interesting differences as well, and it is possible to compare and study the coupling mechanisms of the sodium and proton ion flux for the force generation

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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