Bacterial histidine kinase as signal sensor and transducer

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2006 Mar;38(3):307-12. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2005.08.018. Epub 2005 Sep 26.


Adaptation to an environmental stress is essential for cell survival in all organisms, from E. coli to human. To respond to changes in their surroundings, bacteria utilize two-component systems (TCSs), also known as histidyl-aspartyl phosphorelay (HAP) systems that consist of a histidine kinase (HK) sensor and a cognate response regulator (RR). While mammals developed complex signaling systems involving serine/threonine/tyrosine kinases in stress response mechanisms, bacterial TCS/HAP systems represent a simple but elegant prototype of signal transduction machineries. HKs are known as a seductive target for anti-bacterial therapeutic development, because of their significance in pathological virulence in some bacteria such as Salmonella enterica. Recent molecular and structural studies have shed light on the molecular basis of the signaling mechanism of HK sensor kinases. This review will focus on recent advancements in structural investigation of signal sensing and transducing mechanisms by HKs, which is critical to our understanding of bacterial biology and pathology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase