Get access

Flagella and bacterial pathogenicity


Correspondence: Dr. Guoqiang Zhu, College of Veterinary Medicine, Yangzhou University, Yangzhou 225009, China


Phone: (0086)-514-87972590

Fax: (0086)-514-87311374


As locomotive organelles, flagella allow bacteria to move toward favorable environments. A flagellum consists of three parts: the basal structure (rotary motor), the hook (universal joint), and the filament (helical propeller). For ages, flagella have been generally regarded as important virulence factors, mainly because of their motility property. However, flagella are getting recognized to play multiple roles with more functions besides motility and chemotaxis. Recent evidence has pinpointed that the bacterial flagella participate in many additional processes including adhesion, biofilm formation, virulence factor secretion, and modulation of the immune system of eukaryotic cells. This mini-review summarizes data from recent studies that elucidated how flagella, as a virulence factor, contribute to bacterial pathogenicity.

Get access to the full text of this article