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Title: Roles of the two chemotaxis clusters in Rhodobacter sphaeroides
Author: de Beyer, Jennifer Anne
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Bacteria swim towards improving conditions by controlling flagellar activity via signals (CheY) sent from chemosensory protein clusters, which respond to changing stimuli. The best studied chemotactic bacterium, E. coli, has one transmembrane chemosensory protein cluster controlling flagellar behaviour. R. sphaeroides has two clusters, one transmembrane and one cytoplasmic. The roles of the two clusters in regulating swimming and chemosensory behaviour are explored here. Newly-developed software was used to measure the effect of deleting or mutating each chemotaxis protein on unstimulated swimming and on the chemosensory response to dynamic change. New behaviours were identified by using much larger sample sizes than previous studies. R. sphaeroides chemotaxis mutants were classified as (i) stoppy unresponsive; (ii) smooth unresponsive or (iii) stoppy inhibited compared to wildtype swimming and chemosensory behaviour. The data showed that the ability to stop during free-swimming is not necessarily connected to the ability to respond to a chemotaxis challenge. The data suggested a new model of connectivity between the two chemosensory pathways. CheY3 and CheY4 are phosphorylated by the transmembrane polar cluster in response to external chemoeffector concentrations. CheY6-P produced by the cytoplasmic cluster is a requirement for chemotaxis, whether or not the polar cluster is able to produce CheY6-P. CheY6-P stops the motor, whereas CheY3,4-P allow smooth swimming. When chemoeffector levels fall, the signals through CheY3,4 fall, allowing CheY6-P to bind and stop the motor. As the polar cluster adapts to the fall by the action of the adaptation proteins CheB1 and CheR2, the concentration of CheY3,4-P increases again, to compete with CheY6-P and allow periods of smooth swimming. Under aerobic conditions, the cytoplasmic cluster controls the basal stopping frequency and does not appear to respond to external chemoeffector changes. The role of the adaptation proteins in resetting the signalling state in R. sphaeroides is unclear, particularly the roles of the proteins associated with the cytoplasmic cluster, CheB2 and CheR3. Tandem mass spectrometry was used to identify glutamate and glutamine (EQ) sites on the cytoplasmic R. sphaeroides chemoreceptor TlpT that are deamidated and methylated by the R. sphaeroides adaptation homologues. In E. coli, adaptation sites are usually EQ/EQ pairs. However the sites reported in TlpT vary at the first residue in the pair. Mutation of the putative EQ adaptation sites caused changes in adaptation, suggesting that CheY6-P levels are controlled and reset by CheB2 and CheR3 controlling the adaptation state of TlpT.
Supervisor: Armitage, Judith P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bacteriology ; Chemotaxis ; Microbiology ; Image analysis ; Biochemistry ; Molecular biology ; Cells--Motility ; Alpha-proteobacteria ; Rhodobacter sphaeroides