The change of motility and the presence of flagella were followed throughout growth and sporulation in a standard sporulating strain and in 19 cacogenic sporulation mutants of Bacillus subtilis. For the standard strain, the fraction of motile cells decreased during the developmental period to less than 10% at T4. Motility was lost well before the cells lose their flagella. Conditions reducing the decrease of motility also reduced sporulation: motile cells never contained spores. The decrease of motility was not coupled with a decrease in the cellular concentration of adenosine 5'-triphosphate or a decline in oxygen consumption, but an uncoupling agent immediately destroyed motility at any time. Apparently, motility decreased during development because it became increasingly uncoupled from the energy generating systems of the cell. The motility of sporulation mutants decreased after the end of growth at the same time as or earlier than the motility of the standard strain; the early decrease of motility in an aconitase mutant, but not that in an alpha-ketoglurate dehydrogenase mutant, could be avoided by addition of L-glutamate. Sporulation or related events such as extracellular antibiotic or protease production were not needed for the motility decline
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