Flagellar assembly in Salmonella typhimurium



The bacterial flagellum is a motility apparatus in which a long helical filament - the propeller - is driven by a rotary motor embedded in the cell surface. Out of more than 40 genes required for construction of a fully functional flagellum in Salmonella typhimurium, only 18 gene products have been identified in the mature structure. Some other flagellar proteins play logistical roles during construction, which involves the selective export of flagellar components through a central hole in the flagellum. The whole structure is constructed from base to tip by linear assembly; that is, by adding new components on the growing end, resulting in the distal growth of each substructure. Components of the substructures do not necessarily self-assemble, but often demand the help of other proteins. Recent progress in the understanding of flagellar assembly, which has been most extensively studied in S. typhimurium, is reviewed.