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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Oct;58(2):345-8.

A novel bacterial signalling system with a combination of a Ser/Thr kinase cascade and a His/Asp two-component system.

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School of Dentistry, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Prokaryotes and eukaryotes have long been thought to use very different types of kinases (the His kinases of the 'bacterial' two-component systems versus the 'eukaryotic' Ser/Thr/Tyr kinases) to carry out signal transduction. This paradigm no longer holds true, because both systems are now found together in an increasing number of prokaryotic organisms and 'two-component' His kinase are present in eukaryotes. Pioneering work on bacterial protein serine threonine kinases (PSTKs) has been performed in Myxococcus xanthus, a soil bacterium with a complex life cycle that possesses orthologues of signalling-related kinases 'typical' of both the prokaryotic and the eukaryotic kingdoms. In the work reported in this volume of Molecular Microbiology, Nariya and Inouye describe a PSTK cascade that modulates the biochemical activity of MrpC, a CRP-like transcriptional regulator for essential developmental signalling pathways in M. xanthus whose transcription is under the control of a two-component system. This is the first report of both a functional PSTK cascade in bacteria and the use of both PSTK and two-component systems to control a single complex bacterial signalling event.

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