Summary: The behavioural response to a gradient of oxygen (aerotaxis) has been characterized in the archaeon, . When the gas surrounding a drop of strain S9-P culture was changed abruptly from 10% (v/v) O to 100% N, the bacteria transiently increased the frequency of reversing before they adapted and resumed random swimming. When the gas was returned to 10% O the bacteria responded by swimming smoothly for approximately 45 s. Aerotaxis was strongest when respiration in was highest and when bacteriorhodopsin and halorhodopsin were not contributing to the proton motive force. Starvation for methionine of the auxotrophic essentially abolished the step-down aerotactic response. Methanol production from demethylation of methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins was transiently increased in S9-P by a step down or step up in oxygen concentration, as observed in methylation-dependent chemotaxis in . The taxis-negative and methyltransferase-deficient mutant, strain Pho72 did not exhibit changes in methanol release in response to aerotaxis or chemotaxis stimuli. This is the first report of an aerotactic response that is dependent on methylation of methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins. Aerotaxis in and is independent of transducer methylation.


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