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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Bacteria exploit a polymorphic instability of the flagellar filament to escape from traps.


PMID 28559324

Abstract

Many bacterial species swim by rotating single polar helical flagella. Depending on the direction of rotation, they can swim forward or backward and change directions to move along chemical gradients but also to navigate their obstructed natural environment in soils, sediments, or mucus. When they get stuck, they naturally try to back out, but they can also resort to a radically different flagellar mode, which we discovered here. Using high-speed microscopy, we monitored the swimming behavior of the monopolarly flagellated species

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