6.5 Peritrichous Flagella

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    Peritrichous Flagella

    Still other species are peritrichous (“hair all around”), with multiple flagella distributed randomly around the cell, as you can see on this Pseudomonas flexibilis. The number of flagella varies between different species, from relatively few here to considerably more (⇩). The well-known model system Escherichia coli is also peritrichously flagellated. In this arrangement, when the flagellar motors are all rotating one direction (counter-clockwise), the flagella form a whip-like bundle that propels the cell to “run” in a straight line. When one or more motors switch to clockwise rotation, the flagella dissociate from the bundle and “tumble” the cell to face a new direction. In the next chapter, you will see how cells use this behavior to seek out favorable spots.

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