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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1997;13:457-512.

The two-component signaling pathway of bacterial chemotaxis: a molecular view of signal transduction by receptors, kinases, and adaptation enzymes.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0215, USA.


The chemosensory pathway of bacterial chemotaxis has become a paradigm for the two-component superfamily of receptor-regulated phosphorylation pathways. This simple pathway illustrates many of the fundamental principles and unanswered questions in the field of signaling biology. A molecular description of pathway function has progressed rapidly because it is accessible to diverse structural, biochemical, and genetic approaches. As a result, structures are emerging for most of the pathway elements, biochemical studies are elucidating the mechanisms of key signaling events, and genetic methods are revealing the intermolecular interactions that transmit information between components. Recent advances include (a) the first molecular picture of a conformational transmembrane signal in a cell surface receptor, (b) four new structures of kinase domains and adaptation enzymes, and (c) significant new insights into the mechanisms of receptor-mediated kinase regulation, receptor adaptation, and the phospho-activation of signaling proteins. Overall, the chemosensory pathway and the propulsion system it regulates provide an ideal system in which to probe molecular principles underlying complex cellular signaling and behavior.

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