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An element of determinism in a stochastic flagellar motor switch

Xie, L and Altindal, T and Wu, XL (2015) An element of determinism in a stochastic flagellar motor switch. PLoS ONE, 10 (11).

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Marine bacterium Vibrio alginolyticus uses a single polar flagellum to navigate in an aqueous environment. Similar to Escherichia coli cells, the polar flagellar motor has two states; when the motor is counter-clockwise, the cell swims forward and when the motor is clockwise, the cell swims backward. V. alginolyticus also incorporates a direction randomization step at the start of the forward swimming interval by flicking its flagellum. To gain an understanding on how the polar flagellar motor switch is regulated, distributions of the forward Δf and backward Δb intervals are investigated herein. We found that the steady-state probability density functions, P(Δf) and P(Δb), of freely swimming bacteria are strongly peaked at a finite time, suggesting that the motor switch is not Poissonian. The short-time inhibition is sufficiently strong and long lasting, i.e., several hundred milliseconds for both intervals, which is readily observed and characterized. Treating motor reversal dynamics as a firstpassage problem, which results from conformation fluctuations of the motor switch, we calculated P(Δf) and P(Δb) and found good agreement with the measurements.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Xie, L
Altindal, T
Wu, XLxlwu@pitt.eduXLWU
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Date: 10 November 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 10
Number: 11
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141654
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Astronomy
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Physics
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 14:45
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2021 10:55


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