Bacterial chemotaxis towards aromatic hydrocarbons in Pseudomonas

Environ Microbiol. 2011 Jul;13(7):1733-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2011.02493.x. Epub 2011 May 23.


Bacterial chemotaxis is an adaptive behaviour, which requires sophisticated information-processing capabilities that cause motile bacteria to either move towards or flee from chemicals. Pseudomonas putida DOT-T1E exhibits the capability to move towards different aromatic hydrocarbons present at a wide range of concentrations. The chemotactic response is mediated by the McpT chemoreceptor encoded by the pGRT1 megaplasmid. Two alleles of mcpT are borne on this plasmid and inactivation of either one led to loss of this chemotactic phenotype. Cloning of mcpT into a plasmid complemented not only the mcpT mutants but also its transfer to other Pseudomonas conferred chemotactic response to high concentrations of toluene and other chemicals. Therefore, the phenomenon of chemotaxis towards toxic compounds at high concentrations is gene-dose dependent. In vitro experiments show that McpT is methylated by CheR and McpT net methylation was diminished in the presence of hydrocarbons, what influences chemotactic movement towards these chemicals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chemotaxis*
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plasmids
  • Pseudomonas putida / genetics
  • Pseudomonas putida / physiology*
  • Toluene / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
  • Toluene