Chimeric chemoreceptors in Escherichia coli: signaling properties of Tar-Tap and Tap-Tar hybrids. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Tap (taxis toward peptides) receptor and the periplasmic dipeptide-binding protein (DBP) of Escherichia coli together mediate chemotactic responses to dipeptides. Tap is a low-abundance receptor. It is present in 5- to 10-fold-fewer copies than high-abundance receptors like Tar and Tsr. Cells expressing Tap as the sole receptor, even from a multicopy plasmid at 5- to 10-fold-overexpressed levels, do not generate sufficient clockwise (CW) signal to tumble and thus swim exclusively smoothly (run). To study the signaling properties of Tap in detail, we constructed reciprocal hybrids between Tap and Tar fused in the linker region between the periplasmic and cytoplasmic domains. The Tapr hybrid senses dipeptides and is a good CW-signal generator, whereas the Tarp hybrid senses aspartate but is a poor CW-signal generator. Thus, the poor CW signaling of Tap is a property of its cytoplasmic domain. Eighteen residues at the carboxyl terminus of high-abundance receptors, including the NWETF sequence that binds the CheR methylesterase, are missing in Tap. The Tart protein, created by removing these 18 residues from Tar, has diminished CW-signaling ability. The Tapl protein, made by adding the last 18 residues of Tar to the carboxyl terminus of Tap, also does not support CW flagellar rotation. However, Tart and Tapl cross-react well with antibody directed against the conserved cytoplasmic region of Tsr, whereas Tap does not cross-react with this antibody. Tap does cross-react, however, with antibody directed against the low-abundance chemoreceptor Trg. The hybrid, truncated, and extended receptors exhibit various levels of methylation. However, Tar and Tapl, which contain a consensus CheR-binding motif (NWETF) at their carboxyl termini, exhibit the highest basal levels of methylation, as expected. We conclude that no simple correlation exists between the abundance of a receptor, its methylation level, and its CW-signaling ability.

published proceedings

  • J Bacteriol

author list (cited authors)

  • Weerasuriya, S., Schneider, B. M., & Manson, M. D.

citation count

  • 76

complete list of authors

  • Weerasuriya, S||Schneider, BM||Manson, MD

publication date

  • February 1998