Rotational direction of flagellar motor from the conformation of FliG middle domain in marine Vibrio

Sci Rep. 2018 Dec 12;8(1):17793. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35902-6.


FliG, which is composed of three distinctive domains, N-terminal (N), middle (M), and C-terminal (C), is an essential rotor component that generates torque and determines rotational direction. To determine the role of FliG in determining flagellar rotational direction, we prepared rotational biased mutants of fliG in Vibrio alginolyticus. The E144D mutant, whose residue is belonging to the EHPQR-motif in FliGM, exhibited an increased number of switching events. This phenotype generated a response similar to the phenol-repellent response in chemotaxis. To clarify the effect of E144D mutation on the rotational switching, we combined the mutation with other che mutations (G214S, G215A and A282T) in FliG. Two of the double mutants suppressed the rotational biased phenotype. To gain structural insight into the mutations, we performed molecular dynamic simulations of the FliGMC domain, based on the crystal structure of Thermotoga maritima FliG and nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. Furthermore, we examined the swimming behavior of the fliG mutants lacking CheY. The results suggested that the conformation of FliG in E144D mutant was similar to that in the wild type. However, that of G214S and G215A caused a steric hindrance in FliG. The conformational change in FliGM triggered by binding CheY may lead to a rapid change of direction and may occur in both directional states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Flagella / genetics*
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • Protein Conformation
  • Thermotoga maritima / genetics
  • Vibrio alginolyticus / genetics*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Flig protein, Bacteria