Bacterial chemoreceptors: high-performance signaling in networked arrays

Trends Biochem Sci. 2008 Jan;33(1):9-19. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2007.09.014. Epub 2007 Dec 31.


Chemoreceptors are crucial components in the bacterial sensory systems that mediate chemotaxis. Chemotactic responses exhibit exquisite sensitivity, extensive dynamic range and precise adaptation. The mechanisms that mediate these high-performance functions involve not only actions of individual proteins but also interactions among clusters of components, localized in extensive patches of thousands of molecules. Recently, these patches have been imaged in native cells, important features of chemoreceptor structure and on-off switching have been identified, and new insights have been gained into the structural basis and functional consequences of higher order interactions among sensory components. These new data suggest multiple levels of molecular interactions, each of which contribute specific functional features and together create a sophisticated signaling device.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Chemoreceptor Cells / physiology*
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Dimerization
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Proteins
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CheW protein, E coli
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Proteins
  • Tsr protein, Bacteria