Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


Motile bacteria have a chemotaxis system that enables them to sense their environment and direct their swimming toward favorable conditions. Chemotaxis involves a signaling process in which ligand binding to the extracellular domain of the chemoreceptor alters the activity of the histidine kinase, CheA, bound ~300 Å away to the distal cytoplasmic tip of the receptor, to initiate a phosphorylation cascade that controls flagellar rotation. The cytoplasmic domain of the receptor is thought to propagate this signal via changes in dynamics and/or stability, but it is unclear how these changes modulate the kinase activity of CheA. To address this question, we have used hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to probe the structure and dynamics of CheA within functional signaling complexes of the Escherichia coli aspartate receptor cytoplasmic fragment, CheA, and CheW. Our results reveal that stabilization of the P4 catalytic domain of CheA correlates with kinase activation. Furthermore, differences in activation of the kinase that occur during sensory adaptation depend on receptor destabilization of the P3 dimerization domain of CheA. Finally, hydrogen exchange properties of the P1 domain that bears the phosphorylated histidine identify the dimer interface of P1/P1’ in the CheA dimer and support an ordered sequential binding mechanism of catalysis, in which dimeric P1/P1’ has productive interactions with P4 only upon nucleotide binding. Thus stabilization/destabilization of domains is a key element of the mechanism of modulating CheA kinase activity in chemotaxis, and may play a role in the control of other kinases.











UMass Amherst Open Access Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


NIH Grant R01-GM120195