The bacterial flagellar motor is a membrane-embedded rotary macromolecular machine that converts the electrochemical energy of the proton gradient into the mechanical energy of rotation. The knowledge about the bacterial motor is a source of inspiration for nanotechnology and one of the first steps towards making artificial motors on the same scale. Recent breakthrough electron cryotomography studies have revealed proteinaceous periplasmic structures adjacent to the stator (the powerhouse) of polar flagellar motors, which are essential for the stator assembly and function. The talk will showcase the cutting-edge research on the structure, composition, and function of the periplasmic scaffold in the polar bacterial flagellar motor of Helicobacter pylori. This microorganism displays high motility in the very viscous mucous layer of the stomach, which enables us to use H. pylori
as a model system to study the polar motor specialised for locomotion in highly viscous fluids. The presented work will illustrate the advantages of an interdisciplinary approach combining biology and physics. The presentation will conclude with the discussion of the new paradigm for how the previously unseen accessory components control the function of the flagellar motor.