Bacteria have evolved the ability to monitor changes in various physico-chemical parameters and to adapt their physiology and metabolism by implementing appropriate cellular responses to these changes. Energy taxis is a metabolism-dependent form of taxis and is the directed movement of motile bacteria in gradients of physico-chemical parameters that affect metabolism. Energy taxis has been described in diverse bacterial species and several dedicated energy sensors have been identified. The molecular mechanism of energy taxis has not been studied in as much detail as chemotaxis, but experimental evidence indicates that this behaviour differs from metabolism-independent taxis only by the presence of dedicated energy taxis receptors. Energy taxis receptors perceive changes in energy-related parameters, including signals related to the redox and/or intracellular energy status of the cell. The best-characterized energy taxis receptors are those that sense the redox state of the electron transport chain via non-covalently bound FAD cofactors. Other receptors shown to mediate energy taxis lack any recognizable redox cofactor or conserved energy-sensing motif, and some have been suggested to monitor changes in the proton motive force. The exact energy-sensing mechanism(s) involved are yet to be elucidated for most of these energy sensors. By monitoring changes in energy-related parameters, energy taxis receptors allow cells to couple motility behaviour with metabolism under diverse environmental conditions. Energy taxis receptors thus provide fruitful models to decipher how cells integrate sensory behaviours with metabolic activities.
Alexandre, G. (2010). Coupling metabolism and chemotaxis-dependent behaviours by energy taxis receptors. Microbiology, 156(8), 2283-2293.