Reconstitution of the bacterial chemotaxis signal transduction system from purified components

Elizabeth G. Ninfa, Ann Stocke, Sherry Mowbray, Jeff Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


In bacterial chemotaxis, transmembrane receptor proteins detect attractants and repellents in the medium and send intracellular signals that control motility. The cytoplasmic proteins that transduce information from the receptors to the flagellar motor have previously been purified and many of their enzymatic activities have been identified. Here we report the reconstitution of the complete signal transduction system from purified components. The protein kinase, CheA, plays a central role in both the initial excitation response to stimuli as well as subsequent events associated with adaptation. This kinase provides phosphoryl groups to two acceptor proteins, CheY, which interacts with the flagellar motor, and CheB, which demethylates the receptors. The purified aspartate receptor, Tar, reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles, acts in conjunction with an auxiliary protein, CheW, to stimulate the rate of kinase autophosphorylation greater than 10-fold. This stimulation is inhibited by aspartate. The activity of the kinase is increased by increased levels of receptor methylation. This effect provides a mechanism that explains how changes in receptor methylation mediate adaptive responses to attractant and repellant stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9764-9770
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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