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. pp. 1-11. ISSN 2045-2322

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    Abstract

    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.