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From molecular evolution to biobricks and synthetic modules: a lesson by the bacterial flagellum.

ABSTRACT

The bacterial flagellum is a motility structure and represents one of the most sophisticated nanomachines in the biosphere. Here, we review the current knowledge on the flagellum, its architecture with respect to differences between Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria and other species-specific variations (e.g. the flagellar filament protein, Flagellin). We further focus on the mechanism by which the two nucleotide-binding proteins FlhF and FlhG ensure the correct reproduction of flagella place and number (the flagellation pattern). We will finish the review with an overview of current biotechnological applications, and a perspective of how understanding flagella can contribute to developing modules for synthetic approaches.