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Electron Acceptor Taxis And Blue Light Effect On Bacterial Chemotaxis

B L Taylor, J B Miller, H M Warrick, D E Koshland

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Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli from anaerobic cultures displayed tactic responses to gradients of nitrate, fumarate, and oxygen when the appropriate electron transport pathway was present. Such responses were named "electron acceptor taxis" because they are elicited by terminal electron acceptors. Mutant strains of S. typhimurium and E. coli were used to establish that functioning electron transport pathways to nitrate and fumarate are required for taxis to these compounds. Aerotaxis in S. typhimurium was blocked by 1.0 mM KCN, which inhibited oxygen uptake. Similarly, a functioning electron transport pathway was shown to be essential for the tumbling response of S. typhimurium and E. coli to intense light (290 to 530 nm). Some inhibitors and uncouplers of respiration were repellents of S. typhimurium. We propose that behavioral responses to light or electron acceptors involve electron transport-mediated perturbations of the proton motive force.