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

Acetylation at Lys-92 enhances signaling by the chemotaxis response regulator protein CheY.

When Escherichia coli cells lacking all chemotaxis proteins except the response regulator CheY are exposed to acetate, clockwise flagellar rotation results, indicating the acetate stimulus has activated signaling by CheY. Acetate can be converted to acetyl-CoA by either of two different metabolic pathways, which proceed through acetyl phosphate or acetyl-AMP intermediates. In turn, CheY can be covalently modified by either intermediate in vitro, leading to phosphorylation or acetylation, respectively. Either pathway is sufficient to support the CheY-mediated response to acetate in vivo. Whereas phosphorylation of Asp-57 is a recognized mechanism for activation of CheY to stimulate clockwise flagellar rotation, acetylation of CheY is less well characterized. We found evidence for multiple CheY acetylation sites by mass spectrometry and directly identified Lys-92 and Lys-109 as acetylation sites by Edman degradation of peptides from [14C]acetate-labeled CheY. Replacement of CheY Lys-92, the preferred acetylation site, with Arg has little effect on chemotaxis but completely prevents the response to acetate via the acetyl-AMP pathway. Thus acetylation of Lys-92 activates clockwise signaling by CheY in vivo. The mechanism by which acetylation activates CheY apparently is not simple charge neutralization, nor does it involve enhanced binding to the FliM flagellar switch protein. Thus acetylation probably affects signal generation by CheY at a step after switch binding.[1]


  1. Acetylation at Lys-92 enhances signaling by the chemotaxis response regulator protein CheY. Ramakrishnan, R., Schuster, M., Bourret, R.B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1998) [Pubmed]
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