Receptor conformational changes enhance methylesterase activity during chemotaxis by Bacillus subtilis

Michael W. Bunn, George W. Ordal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Addition and removal of the attractant asparagine causes methanol formation as a consequence of methylation and demethylation of conserved glutamate residues in the Bacillus subtilis chemotaxis receptor McpB C-terminal domain. We found that methanol was released on both addition and removal of asparagine even when the response regulator domain of CheB was removed (to produce CheB(141-357)). Thus, in undergoing the transition from unbound receptor to ligand-bound adapted receptor, the receptor must pass through a state of heightened susceptibility to demethylation by CheB that is independent of phosphorylation. The same result occurred when the aspartate phosphorylation site of CheB, Asp54, had been mutated to an asparagine residue, provided the enzyme was sufficiently induced. However, no methanol release was observed for an active site point mutant, cheB(S173C), in response to addition or removal of asparagine even when induced. Finally, methanol release was observed only for attractant addition in a mutant background lacking the coupling proteins, CheW and CheV, provided CheB(141-357) was present.Thus, on attractant addition, methanol must arise from a transient conformation of the receptor C-terminal domain that is an intrinsic property of the receptor; on attractant removal, however, methanol must arise from a different transient conformation, one dependent on the presence of coupling proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-728
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Receptor conformational changes enhance methylesterase activity during chemotaxis by Bacillus subtilis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this