Mutations in tar suppress defects in maltose chemotaxis caused by specific malE mutations. Academic Article uri icon


  • Maltose-binding protein (MBP), which is encoded by the malE gene, is the maltose chemoreceptor of Escherichia coli, as well as an essential component of the maltose uptake system. Maltose-loaded MBP is thought to initiate a chemotactic response by binding to the tar gene product, the signal transducer Tar, which is also the aspartate chemoreceptor. To study the interaction of MBP with Tar, we selected 14 malE mutants which had specific defects in maltose taxis. Three of these mutants were fully active in maltose transport and produced MBP in normal amounts. The isoelectric points of the MBPs from these three mutants were identical to (malE461 and malE469) or only 0.1 pH unit more basic than (malE454) the isoelectric point of the wild-type protein (pH 5.0). Six of the mutations, including malE454, malE461, and malE469, were mapped in detail; they were located in two regions within malE. We also isolated second-site suppressor mutations in the tar gene that restored maltose taxis in combination with the closely linked malE454 and malE461 mutations but not with the malE469 mutation, which maps in a different part of the gene. This allele-specific suppression confirmed that MBP and Tar interact directly.

published proceedings

  • J Bacteriol

author list (cited authors)

  • Manson, M. D., & Kossmann, M.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Manson, MD||Kossmann, M

publication date

  • January 1986