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Bacteria Swim by Rotating their Flagellar Filaments

Abstract

IT is widely agreed that bacteria swim by moving their flagella, but how this motion is generated remains obscure1,2. A flagellum has a helical filament, a proximal hook, and components at its base associated with the cell wall and the cytoplasmic membrane. If there are several flagella per cell, the filaments tend to form bundles and to move in unison. When viewed by high-speed cinematography, the bundles show a screw-like motion. It is commonly believed that each filament propagates a helical wave3. We will show here that existing evidence favours a model in which each filament rotates.

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BERG, H., ANDERSON, R. Bacteria Swim by Rotating their Flagellar Filaments. Nature 245, 380–382 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1038/245380a0

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