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Ion selectivity of the Vibrio alginolyticus flagellar motor.

By J Z Liu, M Dapice and S Khan


The marine bacterium, Vibrio alginolyticus, normally requires sodium for motility. We found that lithium will substitute for sodium. In neutral pH buffers, the membrane potential and swimming speed of glycolyzing bacteria reached maximal values as sodium or lithium concentration was increased. While the maximal potentials obtained in the two cations were comparable, the maximal swimming speed was substantially lower in lithium. Over a wide range of sodium concentration, the bacteria maintained an invariant sodium electrochemical potential as determined by membrane potential and intracellular sodium measurements. Over this range the increase of swimming speed took Michaelis-Menten form. Artificial energization of swimming motility required imposition of a voltage difference in concert with a sodium pulse. The cation selectivity and concentration dependence exhibited by the motile apparatus depended on the viscosity of the medium. In high-viscosity media, swimming speeds were relatively independent of either ion type or concentration. These facts parallel and extend observations of the swimming behavior of bacteria propelled by proton-powered flagella. In particular, they show that ion transfers limit unloaded motor speed in this bacterium and imply that the coupling between ion transfers and force generation must be fairly tight

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1990
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:213185
Provided by: PubMed Central
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