Hydroxylamine mutagenesis was used to alter the tar gene that encodes the transmembrane Tar protein required for chemotaxis. Mutants defective in chemotaxis were selected, and the mutation was characterized by DNA sequencing. Two classes of mutations were found: nonsense and missense. The nonsense mutations were distributed throughout the gene, while the missense mutations were found to cluster in a region that includes 185 amino acids at the C-terminal end of the Tar protein. Partial characterization of mutant phenotypes suggested that some are completely defective in signaling while responding to attractants and repellents by differential methylation. Other mutants are undermethylated and constantly tumble, while yet another class of mutants is overmethylated and biased toward constant swimming with little or no tumbling. These mutants will be useful in experiments designed to understand the mechanism of chemotaxis
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