Bacterial chemoreceptors of different length classes signal independently

M. Karina Herrera Seitz, Vered Frank, Diego A. Massazza, Ady Vaknin, Claudia A. Studdert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Bacterial chemoreceptors sense environmental stimuli and govern cell movement by transmitting the information to the flagellar motors. The highly conserved cytoplasmic domain of chemoreceptors consists in an alpha-helical hairpin that forms in the homodimer a coiled-coil four-helix bundle. Several classes of chemoreceptors that differ in the length of the coiled-coil structure were characterized. Many bacterial species code for chemoreceptors that belong to different classes, but how these receptors are organized and function in the same cell remains an open question. E. coli cells normally code for single class chemoreceptors that form extended arrays based on trimers of dimers interconnected by the coupling protein CheW and the kinase CheA. This structure promotes effective coupling between the different receptors in the modulation of the kinase activity. In this work, we engineered functional derivatives of the Tsr chemoreceptor of E. coli that mimic receptors whose cytoplasmic domain is longer by two heptads. We found that these long Tsr receptors did not efficiently mix with the native receptors and appeared to function independently. Our results suggest that the assembly of membrane-bound receptors of different specificities into mixed clusters is dictated by the length-class to which the receptors belong, ensuring cooperative function only between receptors of the same class.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)814-822
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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