Untangling Flavobacterium johnsoniae gliding motility and protein secretion

Joseph J. Johnston, Abhishek Shrivastava, Mark J. McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Flavobacterium johnsoniae exhibits rapid gliding motility over surfaces. At least 20 genes are involved in this process. Seven of these, gldK, gldL, gldM, gldN, sprA, sprE, and sprT, encode proteins of the type IX protein secretion system (T9SS). The T9SS is required for surface localization of the motility adhesins SprB and RemA, and for secretion of the soluble chitinase ChiA. Here, we demonstrate that the gliding motility proteins GldA, GldB, GldD, GldF, GldH, GldI, and GldJ are also essential for secretion. Cells with mutations in the genes encoding any of these seven proteins had normal levels of gldK mRNA but dramatically reduced levels of the GldK protein, which may explain the secretion defects of the motility mutants. GldJ is necessary for stable accumulation of GldK, and each mutant lacked the GldJ protein. F. johnsoniae cells that produced truncated GldJ, lacking eight to 13 amino acids from the C terminus, accumulated GldK but were deficient in gliding motility. SprB was secreted by these cells but was not propelled along their surfaces. This C-terminal region of GldJ is thus required for gliding motility but not for secretion. The identification of mutants that are defective for motility but competent for secretion begins to untangle the F. johnsoniae gliding motility machinery from the T9SS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00362-17
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Flavobacterium
  • Gliding motility
  • Protein secretion
  • Type IX secretion system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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