Variable sizes of Escherichia coli chemoreceptor signaling teams

Robert G. Endres, Olga Oleksiuk, Clinton H. Hansen, Yigal Meir, Victor Sourjik, Ned S. Wingreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Like many sensory receptors, bacterial chemotaxis receptors form clusters. In bacteria, large-scale clusters are subdivided into signaling teams that act as 'antennas' allowing detection of ligands with remarkable sensitivity. The range of sensitivity is greatly extended by adaptation of receptors to changes in concentrations through covalent modification. However, surprisingly little is known about the sizes of receptor signaling teams. Here, we combine measurements of the signaling response, obtained from in vivo fluorescence resonance energy transfer, with the statistical method of principal component analysis, to quantify the size of signaling teams within the framework of the previously successful Monod-Wyman-Changeux model. We find that size of signaling teams increases 2- to 3-fold with receptor modification, indicating an additional, previously unrecognized level of adaptation of the chemotaxis network. This variation of signaling-team size shows that receptor cooperativity is dynamic and likely optimized for sensing noisy ligand concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number211
JournalMolecular Systems Biology
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


  • Adaptation
  • Chemotaxis
  • FRET
  • Principal component analysis
  • Receptor clusters


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