Receptor-mediated protein kinase activation and the mechanism of transmembrane signaling in bacterial chemotaxis
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Chemotaxis responses of Escherichia coli and Salmonella are mediated by type I membrane receptors with N-terminal extracytoplasmic sensing domains connected by transmembrane helices to C-terminal signaling domains in the cytoplasm. Receptor signaling involves regulation of an associated protein kinase, CheA. Here we show that kinase activation by a soluble signaling domain construct involves the formation of a large complex, with approximately 14 receptor signaling domains per CheA dimer. Electron microscopic examination of these active complexes indicates a well defined bundle composed of numerous receptor filaments. Our findings suggest a mechanism for transmembrane signaling whereby stimulus-induced changes in lateral packing interactions within an array of receptor-sensing domains at the cell surface perturb an equilibrium between active and inactive receptor-kinase complexes within the cytoplasm.
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