PII-like signaling proteins: a new paradigm in orchestrating cellular homeostasis

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2024 Jun:79:102453. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2024.102453. Epub 2024 Apr 27.


Members of the PII superfamily are versatile, multitasking signaling proteins ubiquitously found in all domains of life. They adeptly monitor and synchronize the cell's carbon, nitrogen, energy, redox, and diurnal states, primarily by binding interdependently to adenyl-nucleotides, including charged nucleotides (ATP, ADP, and AMP) and second messengers such as cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP), and S-adenosylmethionine-AMP (SAM-AMP). These proteins also undergo a variety of posttranslational modifications, such as phosphorylation, adenylation, uridylation, carboxylation, and disulfide bond formation, which further provide cues on the metabolic state of the cell. Serving as precise metabolic sensors, PII superfamily proteins transmit this information to diverse cellular targets, establishing dynamic regulatory assemblies that fine-tune cellular homeostasis. Recently discovered, PII-like proteins are emerging families of signaling proteins that, while related to canonical PII proteins, have evolved to fulfill a diverse range of cellular functions, many of which remain elusive. In this review, we focus on the evolution of PII-like proteins and summarize the molecular mechanisms governing the assembly dynamics of PII complexes, with a special emphasis on the PII-like protein SbtB.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeostasis*
  • PII Nitrogen Regulatory Proteins / genetics
  • PII Nitrogen Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Signal Transduction*


  • PII Nitrogen Regulatory Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins