Caister Academic Press

Two-component Regulatory Systems in Prokaryotes

David E. Whitworth
from: Bacterial Regulatory Networks (Edited by: Alain A.M. Filloux). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


Two-component systems (TCSs) are signalling pathways found abundantly in prokaryotes, and they are the dominant mechanism for stimulus-responsive adaptation in such organisms. An ever-increasing number of physiological phenomena are known to be regulated by TCSs, including cell cycle progression, pathogenesis, motility, and biofilm formation. The basic TCS comprises a receptor protein (sensor kinase) which autophosphorylates in response to a stimulus. The phosphoryl group is then directly transferred to a response regulator protein (the second component) that has a phosphorylation-dependent effector function. While the most basic TCSs are relatively well understood, there are many 'atypical' systems, which exhibit additional mechanistic features (for instance, regulation of sub-cellular location, intrinsic and extrinsic phosphatase activities, and cross-communication between TCSs), adding complexity to their signalling properties. The relatively recent availability of complete prokaryotic genome sequences has also provided new opportunities to appreciate global features of TCS function. For example, analyses have provided insights into TCS evolution, which in turn have yielded computational methods for evaluating TCS protein partnerships. This chapter provides an overview of the common features of TCSs from a historical perspective, and then describes current understanding regarding the mechanisms of TCS function. Finally, outstanding questions regarding TCS function are discussed read more ...
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