Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Many cellular activities are driven by complex protein machines. By measuring the behaviour of fluorescent protein fusions in real time in living cells it has become apparent that many of these complexes are not fixed, but are dynamic. To some extent this might be expected, for example, for cell division complexes, as defining mid-cell is linked to growth and cell cycle, but perhaps comes as more of a surprise with a complex anchored machine like the bacterial flagellar motor. The assumption has been that once made it remains intact. However, the dynamics of this structure is strongly supported in two manuscripts in this issue of Molecular Microbiology. The stator units which form a peptioglycan anchored ring around the rotor, generating torque in response to the ion motive force, clearly disengage when conditions change. The driving ion is shown to be important in both engagement of the stator to the rotor and the selection of the type of stator unit. These new results provide an insight into the mechanisms underlying motor function, which might rely on dynamic processes, and clearly illustrate the need to move away from a static view of cellular structures.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06573.x

Type

Journal article

Journal

Mol Microbiol

Publication Date

02/2009

Volume

71

Pages

807 - 810

Keywords

Bacteria, Bacterial Proteins, Flagella, Molecular Motor Proteins, Peptidoglycan, Sodium, Torque