Imitation of Escherichia coli Aspartate Receptor Signaling in Engineered Dimers of the Cytoplasmic Domain

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  23 Feb 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5252, pp. 1113-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5252.1113


Transmembrane signaling by bacterial chemotaxis receptors appears to require a conformational change within a receptor dimer. Dimers were engineered of the cytoplasmic domain of the Escherichia coli aspartate receptor that stimulated the kinase CheA in vitro. The folding free energy of the leucine-zipper dimerization domain was harnessed to twist the dimer interface of the receptor, which markedly affected the extent of CheA activation. Response to this twist was attenuated by modification of receptor regulatory sites, in the same manner as adaptation resets sensitivity to ligand in vivo. These results suggest that the normal allosteric activation of the chemotaxis receptor has been mimicked in a system that lacks both ligand-binding and transmembrane domains. The most stimulatory receptor dimer formed a species of tetrameric size.