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

Acetylation of the chemotaxis response regulator CheY by acetyl-CoA synthetase purified from Escherichia coli.

Acetylation of CheY, the excitatory response regulator of bacterial chemotaxis, by the enzyme acetyl-CoA synthetase ( Acs) is involved in Escherichia coli chemotaxis, but its function is obscure. Here, we overproduced Acs from E.coli, purified it in quantities sufficient for biochemical work, and characterized both the enzyme and the CheY acetylation reaction that it catalyzes. Such characterization is essential for revealing the function of CheY acetylation in chemotaxis. The enzyme exhibited characteristics typical of prokaryotic Acs enzymes, and it could use either acetate or AcCoA as an acetyl donor for CheY acetylation. The Acs-catalyzed acetylation of CheY was reversible, an essential property for a regulatory process, and cooperative (Hill coefficient approximately 3). By Western blotting with specific anti-acetyl-lysine antibody we demonstrated that Acs undergoes autoacetylation, that CheY is acetylated to a small extent when isolated, and that the extent is elevated following in vitro acetylation. Exposing the intact protein to matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry and electro-spray mass spectrometry, we found that, in most cases, purified CheY is a mixture of species having zero to six acetyl groups per molecule, with non-acetylated CheY being the most abundant species. By proteolytic in-gel digestion of non-treated CheY followed by peptide fingerprinting, precursor ion scan, and tandem mass spectrometry, we found that the acetylation sites of CheY are clustered at the C terminus of the protein, with lysine residues 91, 92, 109, 119, 122 and 126 being the main acetylation sites. Following in vitro acetylation, the main change that seemed to occur was an incremental increase in the extent of acetylation of the same lysine residues. Thus, CheY is similar to many eukaryotic proteins involved in signaling, which undergo both phosphorylation and multiple acetylation, and in which the acetylation sites are restricted to a particular region.[1]


  1. Acetylation of the chemotaxis response regulator CheY by acetyl-CoA synthetase purified from Escherichia coli. Barak, R., Prasad, K., Shainskaya, A., Wolfe, A.J., Eisenbach, M. J. Mol. Biol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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