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FEBS Lett. 1991 Apr 9;281(1-2):245-9.

Phytochromes and bacterial sensor proteins are related by structural and functional homologies. Hypothesis on phytochrome-mediated signal-transduction.

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Botanisches Institut II, Universität zu Köln, Germany.


Phytochrome and bacterial sensor proteins are related by functional and structural homologies. They are both sensors of environmental stimuli and share structural homologies which comprise a domain of about 250 amino acids (about 28 kg.mol-1). This domain is C-terminal in phytochromes and in several bacterial sensor proteins. In both groups of sensors this domain undergoes conformational changes which are caused by the N-terminal part sensing the stimulus. In the case of bacterial sensors, the conformational alteration is, regulated by additional proteins, conferred to a corresponding regulator protein which then acts on transcription. The coincidences between the two groups of sensors are striking enough to assume phytochrome to transduce signals in a way comparable to the bacterial two-component systems.

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