Genetic studies have shown the presence of more than 20 fla genes indispensable for the formation of flagella in Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli. Functional homology of the fla genes in these two bacterial species was examined through intergeneric complementation tests by bacteriophage Pl-mediated transduction from E. coli donors to S. typhimurium recipients. It was found that most of the fla gene products in these two bacterial species were interchangeable and the following correspondence was established (S. typhimurium genes vs. E. coli genes): flaFIV to flaV; flaFV to flaK; flaFVII to flaL; flaFIX to flaM; flaC to flaH; flaM to flaG; flaE to flaI; flaAI to flaN; flaAII·1 to flaB; flaAIII to flaC; flaS to flaO; flaR to flaE; flaQ to flaA; and flaB to flaR. These results suggest that the chromosomal alignment of the functionally homologous genes is very similar in these two bacterial species. Furthermore, five additional fla genes were inferred to exist in E. coli in addition to the fla genes already identified. They were termed flaU, flaX, flaY, flaZ, and flbB (flb is equivalent to fla), which corresponded to flaFI, flaFVI, flaFVIII, flaFX, and flaK of Salmonella in this order. The flaK mutants of E. coli showed no complementation with any of the flaFV, flaFVI, flaFVII, flaFVIII, or flaFIX mutants of Salmonella.
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