We examined the chemotactic behavior of ten Escherichia coli mutants able to synthesize a modified periplasmic maltose-binding protein (MBP) retaining high affinity for maltose. Eight were able to grow on maltose (Mal+), two were not (Mal-). In the capillary assay six out of eight of the Mal+ strains showed an optimal response at the same concentration of maltose as the wild-type strain; the amplitude of the response was strongly reduced in two Mal+ mutants and partially affected in one. The amplitude of the chemotactic response of the two Mal- strains was at least equal to that of the wild type, so that the chemotactic and transport functions of MBP were dissociated in these two cases. We define two regions of the protein (residues 297 to 303 and 364 to 369), that are important both for the chemotactic response and for transport, and one region (residues 207 to 220) that is essential for transport but dispensable for chemotaxis. Interestingly, some regions that were found to be inessential for transport are also dispensable for chemotaxis.