An allosteric model for heterogeneous receptor complexes: understanding bacterial chemotaxis responses to multiple stimuli

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Nov 29;102(48):17354-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0506961102. Epub 2005 Nov 17.


The classical Monod-Wyman-Changeux model for homogeneous allosteric protein complex is generalized in this article to model the responses of heterogeneous receptor complexes to multiple types of ligand stimulus. We show that the recent in vivo experimental data of Escherichia coli chemotaxis responses for mutant strains with different expression levels of the chemo-receptors to different types of stimulus [Sourjik, V. & Berg, H. C. (2004) Nature 428, 437-441] all can be explained consistently within this generalized Monod-Wyman-Changeux model. Based on the model and the existing data, responses of all of the strains (studied in this article) to the presence of any combinations of ligand (Ser and MeAsp) concentrations are predicted quantitatively for future experimental verification. Through modeling the in vivo response data, our study reveals important information about the properties of different types of individual receptors, as well as the composition of the cluster. The energetic contribution of the nonligand binding, cytoplasmic parts of the cluster, such as CheA and CheW, is also discussed. The generalized allosteric model provides a consistent framework in understanding signal integration and differentiation in bacterial chemotaxis. It should also be useful for studying the functions of other heterogeneous receptor complexes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Proteins
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Proteins
  • Histidine Kinase
  • cheA protein, E coli