Flagellum

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A flagellum (pronounced /fləˈdʒɛləm/, or in plural form: flagella) is a tail-like projection that protrudes from the cell body of certain prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and functions in locomotion.[1][2][3] There are some notable differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic flagella, such as protein composition, structure, and mechanism of propulsion. An example of a flagellated bacterium is the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori, which uses multiple flagella to propel itself through the mucus lining to reach the stomach epithelium.[4] An example of a eukaryotic flagellated cell is the sperm cell, which uses its flagellum to propel itself through the female reproductive tract.[5] Eukaryotic flagella are structurally identical to eukaryotic cilia, although distinctions are sometimes made according to function and/or length.[6]

The word flagellum is the Latin word for whip.

Contents

Types

Three types of flagella have so far been distinguished; bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic.

The main differences among these three types are summarized below:

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