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Growth rate control of flagellar assembly in Escherichia coli strain RP437.

Sim, Martin and Koirala, Santosh and Picton, David and Strahl, Henrik and Hoskisson, Paul A. and Rao, Christopher V. and Gillespie, Colin S. and Aldridge, Phillip D. (2017) 'Growth rate control of flagellar assembly in Escherichia coli strain RP437.', Scientific reports., 7 . p. 41189.


The flagellum is a rotary motor that enables bacteria to swim in liquids and swarm over surfaces. Numerous global regulators control flagellar assembly in response to cellular and environmental factors. Previous studies have also shown that flagellar assembly is affected by the growth-rate of the cell. However, a systematic study has not yet been described under controlled growth conditions. Here, we investigated the effect of growth rate on flagellar assembly in Escherichia coli using steady-state chemostat cultures where we could precisely control the cell growth-rate. Our results demonstrate that flagellar abundance correlates with growth rate, where faster growing cells produce more flagella. They also demonstrate that this growth-rate dependent control occurs through the expression of the flagellar master regulator, FlhD4C2. Collectively, our results demonstrate that motility is intimately coupled to the growth-rate of the cell.

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Publisher statement:This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Date accepted:12 December 2016
Date deposited:24 May 2017
Date of first online publication:24 January 2017
Date first made open access:24 May 2017

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