Chemotaxis is the common way of flagellated bacteria to direct their locomotion to sites of most favourable living conditions, that are sites with the highest concentrations of energy sources and the lowest amounts of bacteriotoxic substances. The general prerequisites for chemotaxis are chemoreceptors, a chemosensory signal-transduction system and the flagellar apparatus.
Epsilonproteobacteria like Campylobacter sp. show specific variations of the common chemotaxis components. CheV, a CheWlike linking-protein with an additional response regulator (RR) domain, was identified as commonly used coupling scaffold protein of Campylobacter jejuni. It attaches the histidine autokinase (CheAY), which also has an additional RR-domain, to the chemoreceptors signalling domains. Theses additional RR-domains seem to play an important role in the regulation of the CheAY-phosphorylation state and thereby in sensory adaptation.
The Campylobacter-chemoreceptors are arranged into the three groups A, B, and C. Group A contains membrane-anchored receptors sensing periplasmic signals, group B consists only of one receptor with two cytoplasmic ligand-proteins representing a bipartite energy taxis system that senses pyruvate and fumarate, and group C receptors are cytoplasmic signalling domains with mostly unknown cytoplasmic ligand-binding proteins as sensory constituents. Recent findings demonstrating different alleles of the TLP7 chemoreceptor, specific for formic acid, led to an amendment of this grouping.