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J Biol Chem. 1982 Sep 10;257(17):10378-86.

The methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins of Escherichia coli. Identification of the multiple methylation sites on methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein I.


The methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCPs) are integral membrane proteins that undergo reversible methylation during adaptation of bacterial cells to environmental attractants and repellents. The numerous methylated forms of each MCP are seen as a pattern of multiple bands on polyacrylamide gels. We have characterized the methylation sites in MCPI by analyzing methyl-accepting tryptic peptides. At least two different tryptic peptides accept methyl esters; one methyl-accepting peptide contains methionine and lysine and may be methylated a maximum of four times. The second methyl-accepting tryptic peptide contains arginine and may be methylated twice. Base-catalyzed demethylations of tryptic peptides and analysis of the charge differences between the different methylated forms of MCPI show that MCPI molecules may be methylated a total of six times. The two methyl esters on the methyl-accepting arginine peptide appear to be preferentially methylated in most of the forms of MCPI in attractant-stimulated cells. The ability to acquire six methylations on MCPI allows the bacterial cells to adapt to a broad range of attractant and repellent concentrations.

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