Caister Academic Press

Lateral Flagella Systems

Susana Merino and Juan M. Tomás
from: Pili and Flagella: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Ken Jarrell). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2009)


Flagella-dependent locomotion is usually attributed to only one flagella system, but some bacteria are able to produce dual flagella systems responsible for different types of motility. These bacteria are able to express constitutively polar or subpolar flagella, required for swimming motility, and an inducible, second (lateral) flagella system in viscous environment or on surfaces, essential for swarming motility. Lateral flagella also contribute to the virulence of pathogenic bacteria through adhesion and biofilm formation to host surfaces. Since flagella synthesis and motility have a high metabolic cost for the bacterium, lateral flagella expression is highly regulated by a number of environmental factors and regulators. Although inducible lateral flagella systems were considered uncommon, comparative bioinformatics analysis indicate the presence of homologous non-functional lateral systems in different bacteria that only express one flagella system. These findings show that the presence of dual flagella systems within the same species is more common than was previously thought read more ...
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