Diversity in bacterial chemotactic responses and niche adaptation

Adv Appl Microbiol. 2009;66:53-75. doi: 10.1016/S0065-2164(08)00803-4.


The ability of microbes to rapidly sense and adapt to environmental changes plays a major role in structuring microbial communities, in affecting microbial activities, as well as in influencing various microbial interactions with the surroundings. The bacterial chemotaxis signal transduction system is the sensory perception system that allows motile cells to respond optimally to changes in environmental conditions by allowing cells to navigate in gradients of diverse physicochemical parameters that can affect their metabolism. The analysis of complete genome sequences from microorganisms that occupy diverse ecological niches reveal the presence of multiple chemotaxis pathways and a great diversity of chemoreceptors with novel sensory specificities. Owing to its role in mediating rapid responses of bacteria to changes in the surroundings, bacterial chemotaxis is a behavior of interest in applied microbiology as it offers a unique opportunity for understanding the environmental cues that contribute to the survival of bacteria. This chapter explores the diversity of bacterial chemotaxis and suggests how gaining further insights into such diversity may potentially impact future drug and pesticides development and could inform bioremediation strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological / physiology*
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cell Migration Assays / methods
  • Chemotactic Factors / genetics
  • Chemotactic Factors / physiology
  • Chemotaxis / genetics
  • Chemotaxis / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Chemotactic Factors