Attractant Signaling by an Aspartate Chemoreceptor Dimer with a Single Cytoplasmic Domain

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Science  18 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5286, pp. 425-426
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5286.425


Signal transduction across cell membranes often involves interactions among identical receptor subunits, but the contribution of individual subunits is not well understood. The chemoreceptors of enteric bacteria mediate attractant responses by interrupting a phosphotransfer circuit initiated at receptor complexes with the protein kinase CheA. The aspartate receptor (Tar) is a homodimer, and oligomerized cytoplasmic domains stimulate CheA activity much more than monomers do in vitro. Intragenic complementation was used to show in Escherichia coli that heterodimers containing one full-length and one truncated Tar subunit mediated responses to aspartate in the presence of full-length Tar homodimers that could not bind aspartate. Thus, a Tar dimer containing only one cytoplasmic domain can initiate an attractant (inhibitory) signal, although it may not be able to stimulate kinase activity of CheA.

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