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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 27;278(26):23579-85. Epub 2003 Apr 17.

The H box-harboring domain is key to the function of the Salmonella enterica PhoQ Mg2+-sensor in the recognition of its partner PhoP.

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Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias Bioquímicas y Farmacéuticas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina.


In two-component signaling systems, the transduction strategy relies on a conserved His-Asp phosphoryl exchange between the sensor histidine kinase and its cognate response-regulator, and structural and functional consensus motifs are found when comparing either the diverse histidine kinases or response regulators present in a single cell. Therefore, the mechanism that guarantees the specific recognition between partners of an individual pair is essential to unequivocally generate the appropriate adaptive response. Based on sequence alignments with other histidine kinases, we dissected the Salmonella enterica Mg2+-sensor PhoQ in different subdomains and examined by in vivo and in vitro assays its interaction with the associated response regulator PhoP. This signal transduction system allows Salmonella to withstand environmental Mg2+ limitation by triggering gene expression that is vital throughout the infective cycle in the host. Using resonant mirror biosensor technology, we calculated the kinetic and equilibrium binding constants and determined that the His-phosphotransfer domain is essential for the PhoQ specific recognition and interaction with PhoP. Additionally, we show the role of this domain in the bimolecular transphosphorylation and provide evidence that this region undergoes dimerization.

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