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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2010 Apr;13(2):177-83. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2010.01.004. Epub 2010 Feb 3.

Auxiliary phosphatases in two-component signal transduction.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7290, USA.


Signal termination in two-component systems occurs by loss of the phosphoryl group from the response regulator protein. This review explores our current understanding of the structures, catalytic mechanisms and means of regulation of the known families of phosphatases that catalyze response regulator dephosphorylation. The CheZ and CheC/CheX/FliY families, despite different overall structures, employ identical catalytic strategies using an amide side chain to orient a water molecule for in-line attack of the aspartyl phosphate. Spo0E phosphatases contain sequence and structural features that suggest a strategy similar to the chemotaxis phosphatases but the mechanism used by the Rap phosphatases is not yet elucidated. Identification of features shared by phosphatase families may aid in the identification of currently unrecognized classes of response regulator phosphatases.

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