Protein phosphorylation in bacterial signal transduction

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Oct;1810(10):989-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 Jan 22.


Background: Protein phosphorylation has emerged as one of the major post translational modifications in bacteria, involved in regulating a myriad of physiological processes. In a complex and dynamic system such as the bacterial cell, connectivity of its components accounts for a number of emergent properties. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Systems Biology of Microorganisms.

Scope of review: This review focuses on the implications of bacterial protein phosphorylation in cell signaling and regulation and highlights the connections and cross talk between various signaling pathways: bacterial two-component systems and serine/threonine kinases, but also the interference between phosphorylation and other post-translational modifications (methylation and acetylation).

Major conclusions: Recent technical developments in high accuracy mass spectrometry have profoundly transformed proteomics, and today exhaustive site-specific phosphoproteomes are available for a number of bacterial species. Nevertheless, prediction of phosphorylation sites remains the main guide for many researchers, so we discuss the characteristics, limits and advantages of available phosphorylation predictors.

General significance: The advent of quantitative phosphoproteomics has brought the field on the doorstep of systems biology, but a number of challenges remain before the bacterial phosphorylation networks can be efficiently modeled and their physiological role understood. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Systems Biology of Microorganisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Protein Kinases