The calA, calC, and calD mutants of Escherichia coli are known to be sensitive to Ca2+ (R. N. Brey and B. P. Rosen, J. Bacteriol. 139:824-834, 1979). In the absence of any added stimuli for chemotaxis, both the calC and the calD mutants swam with a tumbly bias. Both the calC and the calD mutants were defective in chemotaxis as measured by computer analysis, use of swarm plates, and capillary assays. The calA mutant was only slightly defective in motility and only slightly impaired in chemotaxis. Chemotactically wild-type cells had an intra-cellular free-Ca2+ level of about 105 nM. The intracellular free-Ca2+ levels of the mutants, as determined by use of the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator dye fura-2 or fluo-3, were about 90, about 1,130, and about 410 nM for calA, calC, and calD, respectively. Lowering the intracellular free-Ca2+ levels in wild-type cells and in the tumbly cal mutants by use of Ca2+ chelators promoted running (smooth swimming). Overexpression of CheZ (which causes dephosphorylation of CheY-phosphate) in the wild type and in the tumbly cal mutants decreased the level of tumbliness (which is caused by CheY-phosphate). The calA mutant was 4- to 10-fold more resistant than the wild type to the inhibitory effect of omega-conotoxin on chemotaxis. omega-Conotoxin had no effect on Ca2+ extrusion by wild-type E. coli; that result suggests that omega-conotoxin affects Ca2+ transport at the point of entry instead of exit.


Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Bacteriology


American Society for Microbiology

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This is an article published by American Society for Microbiology in Journal of Bacteriology in 1995, available online: http://jb.asm.org/content/177/24/7112.abstract