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Cell. 1987 Jul 17;50(2):171-80.

Additive and independent responses in a single receptor: aspartate and maltose stimuli on the tar protein.


The aspartate and maltose responses of E. coli are mediated through a single membrane receptor, yet the responses are independent and additive. Both stimuli cause methylation of the same 4 glutamic acid residues. More extensive methylation occurs when a cell that has adapted to one stimulus is exposed to the second, or when both stimuli are added simultaneously. The degree of methylation, as well as receptor migration on two-dimensional gels, demonstrates that only one type of protein is involved, rather than two different receptors arising from differential processing of a single gene. A conformational "push-pull" mechanism in which binding of stimulus and covalent modification, producing opposing stresses, can explain these diverse results.

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