CheY-dependent methylation of the asparagine receptor, McpB, during chemotaxis in Bacillus subtilis

John R. Kirby, Michael M. Saulmon, Christopher J. Kristich, George W. Ordal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For the Gram-positive organism Bacillus subtilis, chemotaxis to the attractant asparagine is mediated by the chemoreceptor McpB. In this study, we show that rapid net demethylation of B. subtilis McpB results in the immediate production of methanol, presumably due to the action of CheB. We also show that net demethylation of McpB occurs upon both addition and removal of asparagine. After each demethylation event, McpB is remethylated to nearly prestimulus levels. Both remethylation events are attributable to CheR using S-adenosylmethionine as a substrate. Therefore, no methyl transfer to an intermediate carrier need be postulated to occur during chemotaxis in B. subtilis as was previously suggested. Furthermore, we show that the remethylation of asparagine-bound McpB requires the response regulator, CheY- P, suggesting that CheY-P acts in a feedback mechanism to facilitate adaptation to positive stimuli during chemotaxis in B. subtilis. This hypothesis is supported by two observations: a cheRBCD mutant is capable of transient excitation and subsequent oscillations that bring the flagellar rotational bias below the prestimulus value in the tethered cell assay, and the cheRBCD mutant is capable of swarming in a Tryptone swarm plate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11092-11100
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 16 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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