2021 Volume 67 Issue 2 Pages 54-58
Phototaxis is a phenomenon where cyanobacteria move toward a light source. Previous studies have shown that the blue-light-using-flavin (BLUF)-type photoreceptor PixD and the response regulator-like protein PixE control the phototaxis in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. The pixD-null mutant moves away from light, whereas WT, pixE mutant, and pixD pixE double mutant move toward the light. This indicates that PixE functions downstream of PixD and influences the direction of movement. However, it is still unclear how the light signal received by PixD is transmitted to PixE, and then subsequently transmitted to the type IV pili motor mechanism. Here, we investigated intracellular localization and oligomerization of PixD and PixE to elucidate mechanisms of phototaxis regulation. Blue-native PAGE analysis, coupled with western blotting, indicated that most PixD exist as a dimer in soluble fractions, whereas PixE localized in ~250 kDa and ~450 kDa protein complexes in membrane fractions. When blue-native PAGE was performed after illuminating the membrane fractions with blue light, PixE levels in the ~250 kDa and ~450 kDa complexes were reduced and increased, respectively. These results suggest that PixE, localized in the ~450 kDa complex, controls activity of the motor ATPase PilB1 to regulate pilus motility.