Thursday, 24 August 2017 16:06

The latest research on two-component signaling, now available from the Journal of Bacteriology

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Published in mBiosphere

The recent Special Issue of the Journal of Bacteriology highlights recent research on two-component signaling. Included are two minireviews, one a summary of the influence of bacterial signaling on its locomotion from data presented at the Bacterial Locomotion and Signal Transduction conference held in New Orleans, LA, in  January 2017.

Two-component signaling systems are vital to help bacteria detect and respond to their environment. Each two-component system is composed of a sensor histidine kinase (HK), which becomes activated under specific environmental conditions. When activated, the HK phosphorylates the response regulator (RR), and this phosphorylation allows the RR to bind the promoter of a set of genes necessary for expression under the new conditions. The aggregate actions of many different two-component systems are responsible for such bacterial activities as movement, growth, differentiation, and metabolism, among others. 

JBacteriology: Recent advances and future prospects in bacterial and archaeal locomotion and signal transduction.

TCS and motilityInfluence on the DegS-DegU two-component signaling system by bacterial flagellar motility. Source.

This review discusses the interaction between two-component signaling and chemotaxis in many bacterial species. Chemotaxis plays an important role in pathogenesis, which emphasizes the importance of studying chemotaxis in additional organisms to the model Escherichia coli. In addition to human-associated bacteria, plant-associated rhizobacteria detect gradients of compounds released by plants using two-component signaling, and this signal detection induces chemotaxis toward plant roots in the soil. 

Bacterial chemotaxis doesn’t only occur due to extracellular signal relay; flagellar movement can also activate signaling systems. In one example of this, the DegS-DegU two-component system of Bacillus subtilis is upregulated by an unknown signal during the loss of flagellar motility, and this upregulation leads to an increase in biofilm formation (see schematic, right). The complex interaction between two-component signaling, motility, and biofilm formation still has many unanswered questions. 

For more, including minireviews and primary research articles on two-component signaling, check out the Special Issue of the Journal of Bacteriology.


Last modified on Thursday, 24 August 2017 16:53
Julie Wolf

Julie Wolf is the ASM Science Communications Specialist. She contributes to the ASM social media and blog network and hosts the Meet the Microbiologist podcast. She also runs workshops at ASM conferences to help scientists improve their own communication skills. Follow Julie on Twitter for more ASM and microbiology highlights at @JulieMarieWolf.

Julie earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, focusing on medical mycology and infectious disease. Outside of her work at ASM, she maintains a strong commitment to scientific education and teaches molecular biology at the community biolab, Genspace. She lives in beautiful New York City.