Bacillus subtilis CheD is a chemoreceptor modification enzyme required for chemotaxis

Christopher J. Kristich, George W. Ordal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chemotaxis machinery of Bacillus subtilis is similar to that of the well characterized system of Escherichia coli. However, B. subtilis contains several chemotaxis genes not found in the E. coli genome, such as cheC and cheD, indicating that the B. subtilis chemotactic system is more complex. In B. subtilis, CheD is required for chemotaxis; the cheD mutant displays a tumbly phenotype, has abnormally methylated chemoreceptors, and responds poorly to most chemical stimuli. Homologs of B. subtilis CheD have been found in chemotaxis-like operons of a large number of bacteria and archaea, suggesting that CheD plays an important role in chemotactic sensory transduction for many organisms. However, the molecular function of CheD has remained unknown. In this study, we show that CheD catalyzes amide hydrolysis of specific glutaminyl side chains of the B. subtilis chemoreceptor McpA. In addition, we present evidence that CheD deamidates other B. subtilis chemoreceptors including McpB and McpC. Previously, deamidation of B. subtilis receptors was thought to be catalyzed by the CheB methylesterase, as is the case for E. coli receptors. Because cheD mutant cells do not respond to most chemoattractants, we conclude that deamidation by CheD is required for B. subtilis chemoreceptors to effectively transduce signals to the CheA kinase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25356-25362
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 12 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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