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Journal Article

Universal Response-Adaptation Relation in Bacterial Chemotaxis


Sourjik,  V.
Microbial Networks, Department of Systems and Synthetic Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Max Planck Society;
Center for Synthetic Microbiology (SYNMIKRO);
DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance, Centre for Molecular Biology, Heidelberg;

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Krembel, A., Neumann, S., & Sourjik, V. (2015). Universal Response-Adaptation Relation in Bacterial Chemotaxis. Journal of Bacteriology, 197(2), 307-313. doi:10.1128/jb.02171-14.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-BD37-7
The bacterial strategy of chemotaxis relies on temporal comparisons of chemical concentrations, where the probability of maintaining the current direction of swimming is modulated by changes in stimulation experienced during the recent past. A short-term memory required for such comparisons is provided by the adaptation system, which operates through the activity-dependent methylation of chemotaxis receptors. Previous theoretical studies have suggested that efficient navigation in gradients requires a well-defined adaptation rate, because the memory time scale needs to match the duration of straight runs made by bacteria. Here we demonstrate that the chemotaxis pathway of Escherichia coli does indeed exhibit a universal relation between the response magnitude and adaptation time which does not depend on the type of chemical ligand. Our results suggest that this alignment of adaptation rates for different ligands is achieved through cooperative interactions among chemoreceptors rather than through fine-tuning of methylation rates for individual receptors. This observation illustrates a yet-unrecognized function of receptor clustering in bacterial chemotaxis.