Action at a Distance--Bacterial Flagellar Assembly

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Science  15 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5499, pp. 2086-2087
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5499.2086

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The rotating motion of a helical flagellum enables a bacterium to swim toward positive stimuli and away from danger. But how is the flagellum, composed of many different proteins, assembled? In a Perspective, Macnab explains how subunits of the protein flagellin flow down a channel inside the flagellum and are then added to its tip through the action of a rotating pentameric cap complex ( Yonekura et al. ).