Switching of bacterial flagellar motors [corrected] triggered by mutant FliG. Academic Article uri icon


  • Binding of the chemotaxis response regulator CheY-P promotes switching between rotational states in flagellar motors of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Here, we induced switching in the absence of CheY-P by introducing copies of a mutant FliG locked in the clockwise (CW) conformation (FliG(CW)). The composition of the mixed FliG ring was estimated via fluorescence imaging, and the probability of CW rotation (CWbias) was determined from the rotation of tethered cells. The results were interpreted in the framework of a 1D Ising model. The data could be fit by assuming that mutant subunits are more stable in the CW conformation than in the counterclockwise conformation. We found that CWbias varies depending on the spatial arrangement of the assembled subunits in the FliG ring. This offers a possible explanation for a previous observation of hysteresis in the switch function in analogous mixed FliM motors-in motors containing identical fractions of mutant FliM(CW) in otherwise wild-type motors, the CWbias differed depending on whether mutant subunits were expressed in strains with native motors or native subunits were expressed in strains with mutant motors.

published proceedings

  • Biophys J

author list (cited authors)

  • Lele, P. P., & Berg, H. C.

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Lele, Pushkar P||Berg, Howard C

publication date

  • March 2015