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Saturday 01 May 2004

Flagellar motors of marine bacteria Halomonas are driven by both protons and sodium ions.

By: Kita-Tsukamoto K, Wada M, Yao K, Nishino T, Kogure K.

Can J Microbiol 2004 May;50(5):369-74

Bacterial cells in aquatic environments are able to reach or stay near nutrient patches by using motility. Motility is usually attained by rotating flagellar motors that are energized by electrochemical potential of H+ or Na+. In this paper, the ion specificity for flagellar rotation of two marine isolates Halomonas spp. strains US172 and US201 was investigated. Both isolates require sodium for growth and possess a respiratory-driven primary sodium pump. They are motile because of lateral flagella regardless of the presence of sodium ions. Their swimming speed under various concentrations of sodium ions with and without carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, a proton conductor, and with and without phenamil, a specific inhibitor for the sodium-driven flagellar motors, was examined. The effect of carbonylcyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone on the transmembrane proton gradient was also determined. Our results showed that the flagellar motors of the Halomonas strains were energized by both H+ and Na+ in one cell. The bimodal nature of Halomonas spp. motility with respect to the driving energy source may reflect ecophysiological versatility to adapt to a wide range of salt conditions of the marine environment.

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