Temporal and evolutionary dynamics of two-component signaling pathways

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Apr;24:7-14. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2014.12.003. Epub 2015 Jan 10.


Bacteria sense and respond to numerous environmental signals through two-component signaling pathways. Typically, a given stimulus will activate a sensor histidine kinase to autophosphorylate and then phosphotransfer to a cognate response regulator, which can mount an appropriate response. Although these signaling pathways often appear to be simple switches, they can also orchestrate surprisingly sophisticated and complex responses. These temporal dynamics arise from several key regulatory features, including the bifunctionality of histidine kinases as well as positive and negative feedback loops. Two-component signaling pathways are also dynamic on evolutionary time-scales, expanding dramatically in many species through gene duplication and divergence. Here, we review recent work probing the temporal and evolutionary dynamics of two-component signaling systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biological Evolution
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Protein Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase