Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Control of the unidirectional motor in Rhodobacter sphaeroides
Author: Brown, Mostyn T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 1238
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
The control of the flagellar motor in Rhodobacter sphaeroides was investigated. Unlike most flagellar motors which are controlled by reversing the direction of rotation, the R. sphaeroides motor is controlled via a stop-start mechanism. Advanced optical microscopy was employed alongside genetic, biochemical, and behavioural techniques. High-resolution measurements of rotating beads on flagellar stubs revealed that the R. sphaeroides motor is similar to its E. coli counterpart, rotating counterclockwise at comparable torques/speeds (1,300 pNnm/rad at stall torque), and exhibiting transient step changes in speed. The mean stop duration, mean stop frequency (number of stops per s), and run bias (fraction of time spent rotating) of wild-type at steady-state were 0.66 ± 1.01 s, 0.31 ± 0.19 s-1, and 0.80 ± 0.20, respectively. Manipulating signal inputs to the motor genetically, or by exposing cells to chemotactic stimuli revealed that (i) without chemotactic stimulation the motor rotates continuously, (ii) phosphorylated CheYs are required to stop the motor, and (iii) the chemotaxis system cannot control the speed of rotation of the motor (termed chemokinesis) as previously reported. Complementation studies revealed that CheY3, CheY4, and CheY5 are functionally equivalent. The copy numbers per cell of important CheYs were found to vary greatly under the conditions tested (<1,000, ~3,000, ~60,000 for CheY3, CheY4, and CheY6 respectively). To determine how CheY-P binding causes the motor to stop, external force (viscous flow or optical tweezers) was applied to chemotactically stopped motors. CheY-P binding might either cause the torque-generating units to disengage from the rotor, analogous to a clutch, or trigger the rotor to jam, analogous to a brake. The rotor resisted re-orientation during a chemotactic stop implying that the motor was held in a locked state. The value of torque resisting forward motion (keeping it locked) was estimated to be 2-3 x stall torque (2,500-4,000 pNnm/rad). Furthermore beads attached to flagellar stubs stop at fixed angles for several seconds, showing no large-scale Brownian motion. Step analysis revealed that these stop events occur at 27-28 discrete angles around the motor, which most likely reflect the periodicity of the rotor (i.e. copies of FliG). This represents the first experimental resolution of steps in the rotation of a wild-type bacterial flagellar motor with a full complement of torque-generating units.
Supervisor: Armitage, Judith P. Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Molecular biophysics (biochemistry) ; rhodobacter ; flagellar motor ; flagellum ; clutch ; brake ; chemotaxis