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Cell. 1988 Dec 2;55(5):817-26.

Transmembrane signaling by bacterial chemoreceptors: E. coli transducers with locked signal output.

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Biology Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112.


Methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCPs) function as transmembrane signalers in bacteria. We isolated and characterized mutants of the E. coli Tsr protein that produce output signals in the absence of overt stimuli and that are refractory to sensory adaptation. The properties of these "locked" transducers indicate that MCP molecules are capable of generating signals that actively augment clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation of the flagellar motors. Transitions between MCP signaling states can be influenced by amino acid replacements in many parts of the molecule, including the methylation sites, at least one of the two membrane-spanning segments, and a linker region connecting the receptor and signaling domains. These findings suggest that transmembrane signaling may involve direct propagation of conformational changes between the periplasmic and cytoplasmic portions of the MCP molecule.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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