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A paralyzed Rhodobacter sphaeroides mutant strain (PARA1) was isolated by a motility screening procedure following mutagenesis of wild-type R. sphaeroides WS8-N with the transposable element TnphoA (Tn5 IS50L::phoA). PARA1 synthesized a wild-type level of flagellin, as detected by Western immunoblotting with antiflagellar antiserum. Flagellar staining showed that flagellin was assembled into apparently normal external flagellar filaments. Electron micrographs of basal body structures from PARA1 showed that some ring structures that were present were similar to those in wild-type R. sphaeroides WS8-N. PARA1 cells were nonmotile under all growth conditions. No pseudorevertants to motility were seen when PARA1 was grown in the presence of kanamycin to select for the presence of the transposon. The presence of the single copy of TnphoA in the PARA1 chromosome was demonstrated by Southern blotting. Western blotting of cytoplasmic, periplasmic, and membrane fractions of PARA1 with anti-alkaline phosphatase antiserum showed that the transposon had been inserted in-frame into a gene encoding a membrane protein. A SalI restriction endonuclease fragment was cloned from the chromosome of PARA1; this fragment contained a portion of the transposon and R. sphaeroides DNA sequence 5' of the site of insertion. This flanking R. sphaeroides DNA sequence was used to probe an R. sphaeroides WS8 cosmid library. A cosmid designated c19 hybridized to the probe, and a SalI restriction endonuclease fragment derived from this cosmid restored wild-type motility to PARA1 when introduced into this mutant strain by conjugation. The significance of this finding in a bacterium with unidirectionally rotating flagella is discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


J Bacteriol

Publication Date





2786 - 2790


Blotting, Southern, Blotting, Western, Cell Movement, DNA Transposable Elements, Flagella, Flagellin, Microscopy, Electron, Mutagenesis, Insertional, Restriction Mapping, Rhodobacter sphaeroides