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Fabela, Salvador; Domenzain, Clelia; De la Mora, Javier; Osorio, Aurora; Ramirez-Cabrera, Victor; Poggio, Sebastian; Dreyfus, Georges; Camarena, Laura (2013)

A DISTANT HOMOLOGUE OF THE FLGT PROTEIN INTERACTS WITH MOTB AND FLIL AND IS ESSENTIAL FOR FLAGELLAR ROTATION IN RHODOBACTER SPHAEROIDES

J. Bacteriol. 195(23):5285-5296
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In this work, we describe a periplasmic protein that is essential for flagellar rotation in Rhodobacter sphaeroides. This protein is encoded upstream of flgA, and its expression is dependent on the flagellar master regulator FleQ and on the class III flagellar activator FleT. Sequence comparisons suggest that this protein is a distant homologue of FlgT. We show evidence that in R. sphaeroides, FlgT interacts with the periplasmic regions of MotB and FliL and with the flagellar protein MotF, which was recently characterized as a membrane component of the flagellum in this bacterium. In addition, the localization of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-MotF is completely dependent on FlgT. The Mot(-) phenotype of flgT cells was weakly suppressed by point mutants of MotB that presumably keep the proton channel open and efficiently suppress the Mot(-) phenotype of motF and fliL cells, indicating that FlgT could play an additional role beyond the opening of the proton channel. The presence of FlgT in purified filament-hook-basal bodies of the wild-type strain was confirmed by Western blotting, and the observation of these structures under an electron microscope showed that the basal bodies from flgT cells had lost the ring that covers the LP ring in the wild-type structure. Moreover, MotF was detected by immunoblotting in the basal bodies obtained from the wild-type strain but not from flgT cells. From these results, we suggest that FlgT forms a ring around the LP ring, which anchors MotF and stabilizes the stator complex of the flagellar motor.