Structure of the rotor of the bacterial flagellar motor revealed by electron cryomicroscopy and single-particle image analysis

J Mol Biol. 2004 Mar 12;337(1):105-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2004.01.034.


The FliF ring is the base for self-assembly of the bacterial flagellum and the FliF/FliG ring complex is the core of the rotor of the flagellar motor. We report the structures of these two ring complexes obtained by electron cryomicroscopy and single-particle image analysis at 22A and 25A resolution, respectively. Direct comparison of these structures with the flagellar basal body made by superimposing the density maps on the central section reveals many interesting features, such as how the mechanically stable connection between the ring and the rod is formed, how directly FliF domains are involved in the near axial density of the basal body forming the proximal end of the central channel for a potential gating mechanism, some indication of flexibility in the connection of FliF and FliG, and structural and functional similarities to the head-to-tail connectors of bacteriophages.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / cytology*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / ultrastructure*
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Flagella / chemistry
  • Flagella / ultrastructure*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Membrane Proteins / ultrastructure*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / ultrastructure*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Flif protein, Bacteria
  • Flig protein, Bacteria
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins