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Fluctuation analysis of rotational speeds of the bacterial flagellar motor.

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  • Research Article


We measured the dependence of the variance in the rotation rate of tethered cells of Escherichia coli on the mean rotation rate over a regime in which the motor generates constant torque. This dependence was compared with that of broken motors. In either case, motor torque was augmented with externally applied torque. We show that, in contrast to broken motors, functioning motors in this regime do not freely rotationally diffuse and that the variance measurements are consistent with the predicted values of a stepping mechanism with exponentially distributed waiting times (a Poisson stepper) that steps approximately 400 times per revolution.

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