The range of attractant concentrations for bacterial chemotaxis and the threshold and size of response over this range: Weber law and related phenomena

Robert Mesibov, George W Ordal, Julius Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Attractant was added to a suspension of bacteria (the background concentration of attractant) and then these bacteria were exposed to a yet higher concentration of attractant in a capillary. Chemotaxis was measured by determining how many bacteria accumulated in the capillary. The response range for chemotaxis lies between the threshold concentration and the saturating concentration. The breadth of this range is different for attractants detected by different chemoreceptors. Attractants detected by the same chemoreceptor can have their response ranges in widely different places. Over the center of the response range (on a logarithmic scale), bacteria give similar sized responses to similar fractional increases of concentration, i.e. they respond to ratios of attractant concentration, but the response peaks at the center of the range. The size of the response is different for attractants detected by different chemoreceptors. For a detectable response, a smaller increase in attractant concentration is needed for attractants detected by some chemoreceptors than for attractants detected by others. Although the data are inadequate, it appears that the Weber law may be observed over a wide range of concentrations for some attractants but not for others. In the Appendix we aim to explain some of these results in terms of the interaction of an attractant with its chemoreceptor according to the law of mass action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-223
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Volume62
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 1973
Externally publishedYes

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Chemotaxis
Bacteria
Suspensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

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abstract = "Attractant was added to a suspension of bacteria (the background concentration of attractant) and then these bacteria were exposed to a yet higher concentration of attractant in a capillary. Chemotaxis was measured by determining how many bacteria accumulated in the capillary. The response range for chemotaxis lies between the threshold concentration and the saturating concentration. The breadth of this range is different for attractants detected by different chemoreceptors. Attractants detected by the same chemoreceptor can have their response ranges in widely different places. Over the center of the response range (on a logarithmic scale), bacteria give similar sized responses to similar fractional increases of concentration, i.e. they respond to ratios of attractant concentration, but the response peaks at the center of the range. The size of the response is different for attractants detected by different chemoreceptors. For a detectable response, a smaller increase in attractant concentration is needed for attractants detected by some chemoreceptors than for attractants detected by others. Although the data are inadequate, it appears that the Weber law may be observed over a wide range of concentrations for some attractants but not for others. In the Appendix we aim to explain some of these results in terms of the interaction of an attractant with its chemoreceptor according to the law of mass action.",
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