Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 May 14;93(10):4999-5002.

Escherichia coli exhibits negative chemotaxis in gradients of hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorite, and N-chlorotaurine: products of the respiratory burst of phagocytic cells.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Escherichia coli can respond to gradients of specific compounds, moving up gradients of attractants and down gradients of repellents. Stimulated phagocytic leukocytes produce H2O2, OCl-, and N-chlorotaurine in a response termed the respiratory burst. E. coli is actively repelled by these compounds. Catalase in the suspending medium eliminated the effect of H2O2. Repulsion by H2O2 could be demonstrated with 1 microM H2O2, which is far below the level that caused overt toxicity. Strains with defects in the biosynthesis of glutathione or lacking hydroperoxidases I and II retained this response to H2O2, and 2.0 mM CN- did not interfere with it. Mutants with defects in any one of the four known methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins also retained the ability to respond to H2O2, but a "gutted" mutant that was deleted for all four methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins, as well as for CheA, CheW, CheR, CheB, CheY, and CheZ, did not respond to H2O2. Hypochlorite and N-chlorotaurine were also strongly repellent. Chemotaxis down gradients of H2O2, OCl-, and N-chlorotaurine may contribute to the survival of commensal or pathogenic microorganisms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk