The Receiver Domain of FrzE, a CheA-CheY Fusion Protein, Regulates the CheA Histidine Kinase Activity and Downstream Signalling to the A- And S-motility Systems of Myxococcus Xanthus

Mol Microbiol. 2008 Jun;68(5):1328-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06238.x. Epub 2008 Apr 8.


The Frz chemosensory system is a two-component signal transduction pathway that controls cell reversals and directional movements for the two motility systems in Myxococcus xanthus. To trigger cell reversals, FrzE, a hybrid CheA-CheY fusion protein, autophosphorylates the kinase domain at His-49, and phosphoryl groups are transferred to aspartate residues (Asp-52 and Asp-220) in the two receiver domains of FrzZ, a dual CheY-like protein that serves as the pathway output. The role of the receiver domain of FrzE was unknown. In this paper, we characterize the FrzE protein in vitro and show that the receiver domain of FrzE negatively regulates the autophosphorylation activity of the kinase domain of FrzE. Unexpectedly, it does not appear to play a direct role in phospho-relay as in most other histidine kinase receiver domain hybrid systems. The regulatory role of the FrzE receiver domain suggests that it may interact with or be phosphorylated by an unknown protein. We also show the dynamics of motility system-specific marker proteins in FrzE mutants as cells move forward and reverse. Our studies indicate that the two motility systems are functionally co-ordinated and that any system-specific branching of the pathway most likely occurs downstream of FrzE.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement*
  • Chemotaxis / genetics
  • Chemotaxis / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Proteins
  • Myxococcus xanthus / genetics
  • Myxococcus xanthus / growth & development
  • Myxococcus xanthus / metabolism
  • Myxococcus xanthus / physiology*
  • Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • FrzZ protein, Myxococcus xanthus
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Methyl-Accepting Chemotaxis Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase