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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2003 Mar;35(3):297-309.

Mammalian protein histidine kinases.

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Proteomics International Pty Ltd, Level 21, Governor Stirling Tower, 197 St. Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000, Australia.


The existence of protein kinases, known as histidine kinases, which phosphorylate their substrates on histidine residues has been well documented in bacteria and also in lower eukaryotes such as yeast and plants. Their biological roles in cellular signalling pathways within these organisms have also been well characterised. The evidence for the existence of such enzymes in mammalian cells is much less well established and little has been determined about their cellular functions. The aim of the current review is to present a summary of what is known about mammalian histidine kinases. In addition, by consideration of the chemistry of phosphohistidine, what is currently known of some mammalian histidine kinases and the way in which they act in bacteria and other eukaryotes, a general role for mammalian histidine kinases is proposed. A histidine kinase phosphorylates a substrate protein, by virtue of the relatively high free energy of hydrolysis of phosphohistidine the phosphate group is easily transferred to either a small molecule or another protein with which the phosphorylated substrate protein specifically interacts. This allows a signalling process to occur, which may be downregulated by the action of phosphatases. Given the known importance of protein phosphorylation to the regulation of almost all aspects of cellular function, the investigation of the largely unexplored area of histidine phosphorylation in mammalian cells is likely to provide a greater understanding of cellular action and possibly provide a new set of therapeutic drug targets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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