Chemotaxis is the directed motility by means of which microbes sense chemical cues and relocate towards more favorable environments. Methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCPs) are the most common receptors in bacteria and archaea. They are arranged as trimers of dimers that, in turn, form hexagonal arrays in the cytoplasmic membrane or in the cytoplasm. Several different classes of MCPs have been identified according to their ligand binding region and membrane topology. MCPs have been further classified based on the length and sequence conservation of their cytoplasmic domains. Clusters of membrane-embedded MCPs often localize to the poles of the cell, whereas cytoplasmic MCPs can be targeted to the poles or distributed throughout the cell body. MCPs play an important role in cell survival, pathogenesis, and biodegradation. Bacterial adaptation to diverse environmental conditions promotes diversity among the MCPs. This review summarizes structure, classification, and structure–activity relationship of the known MCP receptors, with a brief overview of the signal transduction mechanisms in bacteria and archaea.
- Chemoreceptor, ligand-binding domain
- Protein structure
- Sensory domain
- Signaling domain
- Structure–activity relationship