Restoration of torque in defective flagellar motors

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Science  23 Dec 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4886, pp. 1678-1681
DOI: 10.1126/science.2849208


Paralyzed motors of motA and motB point and deletion mutants of Escherichia coli were repaired by synthesis of wild-type protein. As found earlier with a point mutant of motB, torque was restored in a series of equally spaced steps. The size of the steps was the same for both MotA and MotB. Motors with one torque generator spent more time spinning counterclockwise than did motors with two or more generators. In deletion mutants, stepwise decreases in torque, rare in point mutants, were common. Several cells stopped accelerating after eight steps, suggesting that the maximum complement of torque generators is eight. Each generator appears to contain both MotA and MotB.