The flagellar motor of Bacillus subtilis possesses two distinct H+-type MotAB and Na+-type MotPS stators. In contrast to the MotAB motor, the MotPS motor functions efficiently at elevated viscosity in the presence of 200 mM NaCl. Here, we analyzed the torque-speed relationship of the Bacillus MotAB and MotPS motors over a wide range of external loads. The stall torque of the MotAB and MotPS motors at high load was about 2,200 pN nm and 220 pN nm, respectively. The number of active stators in the MotAB and MotPS motors was estimated to be about ten and one, respectively. However, the number of functional stators in the MotPS motor was increased up to ten with an increase in the concentration of a polysaccharide, Ficoll 400, as well as in the load. The maximum speeds of the MotAB and MotPS motors at low load were about 200 Hz and 50 Hz, respectively, indicating that the rate of the torque-generation cycle of the MotPS motor is 4-fold slower than that of the MotAB motor. Domain exchange experiments showed that the C-terminal periplasmic domain of MotS directly controls the assembly and disassembly dynamics of the MotPS stator in a load-and polysaccharide-dependent manner.
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