Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
The serine and aspartate chemosensory receptors (Tsr and Tar) of Escherichia coli have two membrane-spanning regions TM1 and TM2. To investigate their roles in transmembrane signalling, we constructed two chimeric receptors from Tsr and Tar with heterologous combinations of TM1 and TM2: the N-terminus of one receptor, including TM1 and the periplasmic domain, was fused to the C-terminus of the other, beginning with TM2. Both of the chimeric receptor genes rescued the chemotactic defect of a receptorless E. coli strain, indicating that the chimeric receptors are functional. Their apparent affinities for the specific ligands were the same as those of Tsr or Tar. Therefore, as far as transmembrane signalling abilities are concerned, the TW2 regions of Tsr and Tar are interchangeable, suggesting that sequence-specific interaction between TM1 and TM2 may not be required for the signal transmission across the membrane.The cells expressing either of the chimeric receptors, however, showed ‘smooth’, biased, basal swimming patterns. Moreover, they adapted quickly after stimulation with the repellent glycerol. This rapid adaptation was observed even in the methyltransferase-defective strain. Therefore, exchange of TM2 might impose structural constraints on the chimeric receptors that stabilize conformations which elicit smooth swimming.
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