The metabolic cost of flagellar motion in Pseudomonas putida KT2440

Esteban Martínez-García, Pablo Ivan Nikel, Max Chavarría, Victor de Lorenzo

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Although the flagellar machinery of environmental bacteria endows cells with a phenomenal survival device, it also consumes much of the metabolic currency necessary for fuelling such a vigorous nano-motor. The physiological cost of flagella-related functions of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putidaKT2440 was examined and quantified through the deletion of a approximate to 70kb DNA segment of the genome (approximate to 1.1%), which includes relevant structural and regulatory genes in this micro-organism. The resulting strain lacked the protruding polar cords that define flagella in the wild-type P.putida strain and was unable of any swimming motility while showing a significant change in surface hydrophobicity. However, these deficiencies were otherwise concomitant with clear physiological advantages: rapid adaptation of the deleted strain to both glycolytic and gluconeogenic carbon sources, increased energy charge and, most remarkably, improved tolerance to oxidative stress, reflecting an increased NADPH/NADP+ ratio. These qualities improve the endurance of non-flagellated cells to the metabolic fatigue associated with rapid growth in rich medium. Thus, flagellar motility represents the archetypal tradeoff involved in acquiring environmental advantages at the cost of a considerable metabolic burden.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)291-303
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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