I've encountered the abbreviations such as "CheW" and "CheA" for certain organic molecules. For example:

Proteins associating with the Tar complex include the autophosphorylating protein kinase CheA, the transducing protein CheW, the methylating enzyme CheR and perhaps the protein phosphatase CheZ. (Morton-Firth et al. 1999, p. 1060; available here)

What does "Che" stand for? What do the capital letters at the ends of the abbreviations mean?

Let me know if this would be a better question for chemistry.SE.


2 Answers 2


Here is the paper that first defined them:

Armstrong JB, Adler J. 1969. Complementation of nonchemotactic mutants of Escherichia coli. Genetics 61:61-66.

Che is an abbreviation of chemotaxis. In this paper, complementation studies revealed three different loci that, when mutated, result in defective chemotaxis. These were termed CheA, CheB and CheC. Originally they were thought to be genes, but the following paper refined the definitions when the CheA locus was found to contain CheA and CheW genes while the CheB locus contains CheB, CheX, CheY and CheZ genes:

Silverman M, Simon M. 1977. Identification of polypeptides necessary for chemotaxis in Escherichia coli. J Bacteriol 130:1317-1325.

I'm not going to search for the discovery of every Che gene, but hopefully you have an idea of where the letters come from.


These are name of proteins.

CheA stands for Chemotaxis protein A


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