Two-component signal transduction as potential drug targets in pathogenic bacteria

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2010 Apr;13(2):232-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2010.01.008. Epub 2010 Feb 4.


Gene clusters contributing to processes such as cell growth and pathogenicity are often controlled by two-component signal transduction systems (TCSs). Specific inhibitors against TCS systems work differently from conventional antibiotics, and developing them into new drugs that are effective against various drug-resistant bacteria may be possible. Furthermore, inhibitors of TCSs that control virulence factors may reduce virulence without killing the pathogenic bacteria. Previous TCS inhibitors targeting the kinase domain of the histidine kinase sensor suffered from poor selectivity. Recent TCS inhibitors, however, target the sensory domains of the sensors blocking the quorum sensing system, or target the essential response regulator. These new targets are introduced, together with several specific TCSs that have the potential to serve as effective drug targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / drug effects
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Humans
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinases / drug effects*
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Virulence / drug effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase