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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Elucidation of a PTS-carbohydrate chemotactic signal pathway in Escherichia coli using a time-resolved behavioral assay.

Chemotaxis of Escherichia coli toward phosphotransferase systems (PTSs)-carbohydrates requires phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent PTSs as well as the chemotaxis response regulator CheY and its kinase, CheA. Responses initiated by flash photorelease of a PTS substrates D-glucose and its nonmetabolizable analog methyl alpha-D-glucopyranoside were measured with 33-ms time resolution using computer-assisted motion analysis. This, together with chemotactic mutants, has allowed us to map out and characterize the PTS chemotactic signal pathway. The responses were absent in mutants lacking the general PTS enzymes EI or HPr, elevated in PTS transport mutants, retarded in mutants lacking CheZ, a catalyst of CheY autodephosphorylation, and severely reduced in mutants with impaired methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein (MCP) signaling activity. Response kinetics were comparable to those triggered by MCP attractant ligands over most of the response range, the most rapid being 11.7 +/- 3.1 s-1. The response threshold was <10 nM for glucose. Responses to methyl alpha-D-glucopyranoside had a higher threshold, commensurate with a lower PTS affinity, but were otherwise kinetically indistinguishable. These facts provide evidence for a single pathway in which the PTS chemotactic signal is relayed rapidly to MCP-CheW-CheA signaling complexes that effect subsequent amplification and slower CheY dephosphorylation. The high sensitivity indicates that this signal is generated by transport-induced dephosphorylation of the PTS rather than phosphoenolpyruvate consumption.[1]


  1. Elucidation of a PTS-carbohydrate chemotactic signal pathway in Escherichia coli using a time-resolved behavioral assay. Lux, R., Munasinghe, V.R., Castellano, F., Lengeler, J.W., Corrie, J.E., Khan, S. Mol. Biol. Cell (1999) [Pubmed]
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