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.
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