Cellular stoichiometry of the chemotaxis proteins in Bacillus subtilis

Vincent J. Cannistraro, George D. Glekas, Christopher V. Rao, George W. Ordal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The chemoreceptor-CheA kinase-CheW coupling protein complex, with ancillary associated proteins, is at the heart of chemotactic signal transduction in bacteria. The goal of this work was to determine the cellular stoichiometry of the chemotaxis signaling proteins in Bacillus subtilis. Quantitative immunoblotting was used to determine the total number of chemotaxis proteins in a single cell of B. subtilis. Significantly higher levels of chemoreceptors and much lower levels of CheA kinase were measured in B. subtilis than in Escherichia coli. The resulting cellular ratio of chemoreceptor dimers per CheA dimer in B. subtilis is roughly 23.0 ± 4.5 compared to 3.4 ± 0.8 receptor dimers per CheA dimer observed in E. coli, but the ratios of the coupling protein CheW to the CheA dimer are nearly identical in the two organisms. The ratios of CheB to CheR in B. subtilis are also very similar, although the overall levels of modification enzymes are higher. When the potential binding partners of CheD are deleted, the levels of CheD drop significantly. This finding suggests that B. subtilis selectively degrades excess chemotaxis proteins to maintain optimum ratios. Finally, the two cytoplasmic receptors were observed to localize among the other receptors at the cell poles and appear to participate in the chemoreceptor complex. These results suggest that there are many novel features of B. subtilis chemotaxis compared with the mechanism in E. coli, but they are built on a common core.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3220-3227
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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