Molecular structure of the intact bacterial flagellar basal body.
Nature microbiology 6:6 (2021) 712-721
Abstract:The bacterial flagellum is a macromolecular protein complex that enables motility in many species. Bacterial flagella self-assemble a strong, multicomponent drive shaft that couples rotation in the inner membrane to the micrometre-long flagellar filament that powers bacterial swimming in viscous fluids1-3. Here, we present structures of the intact Salmonella flagellar basal body4, encompassing the inner membrane rotor, drive shaft and outer-membrane bushing, solved using cryo-electron microscopy to resolutions of 2.2-3.7 Å. The structures reveal molecular details of how 173 protein molecules of 13 different types assemble into a complex spanning two membranes and a cell wall. The helical drive shaft at one end is intricately interwoven with the rotor component with both the export gate complex and the proximal rod forming interactions with the MS-ring. At the other end, the drive shaft distal rod passes through the LP-ring bushing complex, which functions as a molecular bearing anchored in the outer membrane through interactions with the lipopolysaccharide. The in situ structure of a protein complex capping the drive shaft provides molecular insights into the assembly process of this molecular machine.
The switching mechanism of the bacterial rotary motor combines tight regulation with inherent flexibility
The EMBO journal EMBO Press 40:6 (2021) e104683
Abstract:Regulatory switches are wide spread in many biological systems. Uniquely among them, the switch of the bacterial flagellar motor is not an on/off switch but rather controls the motor's direction of rotation in response to binding of the signaling protein CheY. Despite its extensive study, the molecular mechanism underlying this switch has remained largely unclear. Here, we resolved the functions of each of the three CheY-binding sites at the switch in E. coli, as well as their different dependencies on phosphorylation and acetylation of CheY. Based on this, we propose that CheY motor switching activity is potentiated upon binding to the first site. Binding of potentiated CheY to the second site produces unstable switching and at the same time enables CheY binding to the third site, an event that stabilizes the switched state. Thereby, this mechanism exemplifies a unique combination of tight motor regulation with inherent switching flexibility.
Motile ghosts of the halophilic archaeon, Haloferax volcanii.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117:43 (2020) 26766-26772
Abstract:Archaea swim using the archaellum (archaeal flagellum), a reversible rotary motor consisting of a torque-generating motor and a helical filament, which acts as a propeller. Unlike the bacterial flagellar motor (BFM), ATP (adenosine-5'-triphosphate) hydrolysis probably drives both motor rotation and filamentous assembly in the archaellum. However, direct evidence is still lacking due to the lack of a versatile model system. Here, we present a membrane-permeabilized ghost system that enables the manipulation of intracellular contents, analogous to the triton model in eukaryotic flagella and gliding Mycoplasma We observed high nucleotide selectivity for ATP driving motor rotation, negative cooperativity in ATP hydrolysis, and the energetic requirement for at least 12 ATP molecules to be hydrolyzed per revolution of the motor. The response regulator CheY increased motor switching from counterclockwise (CCW) to clockwise (CW) rotation. Finally, we constructed the torque-speed curve at various [ATP]s and discuss rotary models in which the archaellum has characteristics of both the BFM and F1-ATPase. Because archaea share similar cell division and chemotaxis machinery with other domains of life, our ghost model will be an important tool for the exploration of the universality, diversity, and evolution of biomolecular machinery.
Distinct chemotactic behavior in the original Escherichia coli K-12 depending on forward-and-backward swimming, not on run-tumble movements.
Scientific reports 10:1 (2020) 15887
Abstract:Most motile bacteria are propelled by rigid, helical, flagellar filaments and display distinct swimming patterns to explore their favorable environments. Escherichia coli cells have a reversible rotary motor at the base of each filament. They exhibit a run-tumble swimming pattern, driven by switching of the rotational direction, which causes polymorphic flagellar transformation. Here we report a novel swimming mode in E. coli ATCC10798, which is one of the original K-12 clones. High-speed tracking of single ATCC10798 cells showed forward and backward swimming with an average turning angle of 150°. The flagellar helicity remained right-handed with a 1.3 μm pitch and 0.14 μm helix radius, which is consistent with the feature of a curly type, regardless of motor switching; the flagella of ATCC10798 did not show polymorphic transformation. The torque and rotational switching of the motor was almost identical to the E. coli W3110 strain, which is a derivative of K-12 and a wild-type for chemotaxis. The single point mutation of N87K in FliC, one of the filament subunits, is critical to the change in flagellar morphology and swimming pattern, and lack of flagellar polymorphism. E. coli cells expressing FliC(N87K) sensed ascending a chemotactic gradient in liquid but did not spread on a semi-solid surface. Based on these results, we concluded that a flagellar polymorphism is essential for spreading in structured environments.
Assembly and Dynamics of the Bacterial Flagellum.
Annual review of microbiology 74 (2020) 181-200