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(vi) Plasmid : In addition to the normal DNA chromosomes many bacteria (e.g. E.

coli) have extra

chromosomal genetic elements or DNA. These elements are called plasmids. Plasmids are small
circular double stranded DNA molecules. The plasmid DNA replicates independently maintains
independent identity and may carry some important genes. Plasmid terms was given by Lederberg
(1952). Some plasmids are integrating into the bacterial DNA chromosome called episomes. Plasmids
are following type.
(a) F-factor or fertility factor or F-plasmid : Which is responsible for transfer of genetic material
from donar to recepient bacteria.
(b) R-factor or resistance factor or R-plasmid : It provides resistance against drugs. Some of the
R-plasmid can be transferred to other cells by conjugation, hence the term infectious resistance. Each
form of resistance is due to a gene whose product is an enzyme that destroys a specific antibiotic.
(c) Colicinogenic factor : Which produces 'colicines' which kill other bacteria (other than which
produce these colicines).
(8) Flagella : These are fine, thread-like, protoplasmic appendages which extend through the
cell wall and the slime layer of the flagellated bacterial cells. These help in bacteria to swim about in
the liquid medium. Myxobacteria donot has flagella and move by gliding movement. Bacterial flagella
are the most primitive of all motile organs. Each is composed of a single thin fibril as against the 9+2
fibrillar structure of eukaryotic cells. It consists of a few fine fibrils twisted tightly together into a rope-
like helical structure. The flagellum is composed entirely of flagellin protein.
According to Low and Hanson (1965), bacterial flagellum is composed of globular subunits arranged in helices of
various kinds.
The diameter of each subunit is about 40-50. These subunits are arranged around a hollow axis.
A flagellum is usually 4.5 long and 120-185 in diameter.
Flagellum is attached to cell membrane by a special terminal hook,
which is attached to the basal body called (bleferoplast). A
bacterial flagellum can be divided into three parts.
(i) Basal granule : It is like a rod it lies with in the cell wall and
cell membrane and bears ring like swellings in these regions.
(ii) A hook : It represent the middle and thickest part of
flagellum. Hook is curved tubular structure which connects the
filament with the basal body.
(iii) Filament : It represents cylindrical hollow structure made
up of protein monomers.
(9) Pili or Fimbriae : Besides flagella, some tiny or small
hair-like outgrowths are present on bacterial cell surface. These are called pili and are made up of
pillin protein. They measure about 0.52m in length and 35m in diameter. Pilin are arranged
helically around a central hollow core. These are present in almost all Gram-ve bacteria and few Gram
+ve bacteria. These are of 8 types I, II, III, IV, V, VI ,VII, and F types. I to F are called sex pili.
Fig : Structure of flagella
L ring
M ring
Outer membrane
Peptidoglycan layer
(i) The function of pili is not in motility but they help in the attachment of the bacterial cells.
(ii) Some sex pili acts as conjugation canals through which DNA of one cell passes into the other