Intrasubunit signal transduction by the aspartate chemoreceptor

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Science  13 Dec 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5038, pp. 1651-1654
DOI: 10.1126/science.1661030


Receptors that transmit signals across cell membranes are typically composed of multiple subunits. To test whether subunit interactions are required for transmembrane signaling by the bacterial aspartate receptor, dimers were constructed with (i) two full-length subunits, (ii) one full-length subunit and one subunit lacking the cytoplasmic domain, or (iii) one full-length subunit and one subunit lacking both the cytoplasmic and the transmembrane domains. Methylation of the cytoplasmic domain of all three receptor constructs was stimulated by the binding of aspartate. These findings demonstrate that transmembrane signaling does not require interactions between cytoplasmic or transmembrane domains of adjacent subunits and suggest that signaling occurs via conformational changes transduced through a single subunit.