Dual stator dynamics in theShewanella oneidensisMR-1 flagellar motor

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The bacterial flagellar motor is an intricate nanomachine which converts ion gradients into rotational movement. Torque is created by ion-dependent stator complexes which surround the rotor in a ring.Shewanella oneidensisMR-1 expresses two distinct types of stator units: the Na+-dependent PomA4B2 and the H+-dependent MotA4B2. Here, we have explored the stator unit dynamics in the MR-1 flagellar system by using mCherry-labeled PomAB and MotAB units. We observed a total of between 7 and 11 stator units in each flagellar motor. Both types of stator units exchanged between motors and a pool of stator complexes in the membrane, and the exchange rate of MotAB, but not of PomAB, units was dependent on the environmental Na+-levels. In 200 mM Na+, the numbers of PomAB and MotAB units in wild-type motors was determined to be about 7:2 (PomAB:MotAB), shifting to about 6:5 without Na+. Significantly, the average swimming speed of MR-1 cells at low Na+ conditions was increased in the presence of MotAB. These data strongly indicate that theS. oneidensisflagellar motors simultaneously use H+ and Na+ driven stators in a configuration governed by MotAB incorporation efficiency in response to environmental Na+ levels.

Shewanella oneidensis

MR-1 possesses two disting stator units, the Na+-dependent PomAB (blue) and the H+-dependent MotAB (red), to drive rotation of the single polar flagellum. Here we show that the stator/motor configuration is dynamically adjusted in response to changing environmental sodium levels and that the S. oneidensis MR-1 flagellum is likely driven by a hybrid motor consisting of Na+- and H+-dependent stators.

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