Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT
How Bacteria Stop Swimming
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How Bacteria Stop Swimming

July 27, 2010
Swimming helps bacteria look for food, escape bad conditions and disperse their genes. But when a bacterium needs to stop swimming, it produces a free-floating clutch (a protein shown in red), that sits down on a gear-like ring (orange), moving that gear away from the engine that spins the bacterium's flagellum. By disengaging the engine from the flagellum's other moving parts, the flagellum's tail is no longer driven to spin.