, Volume 94, Issue 5, pp 1131-1150,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 28 Apr 2012

Two-component signal transduction in Corynebacterium glutamicum and other corynebacteria: on the way towards stimuli and targets


In bacteria, adaptation to changing environmental conditions is often mediated by two-component signal transduction systems. In the prototypical case, a specific stimulus is sensed by a membrane-bound histidine kinase and triggers autophosphorylation of a histidine residue. Subsequently, the phosphoryl group is transferred to an aspartate residue of the cognate response regulator, which then becomes active and mediates a specific response, usually by activating and/or repressing a set of target genes. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on two-component signal transduction in Corynebacterium glutamicum. This Gram-positive soil bacterium is used for the large-scale biotechnological production of amino acids and can also be applied for the synthesis of a wide variety of other products, such as organic acids, biofuels, or proteins. Therefore, C. glutamicum has become an important model organism in industrial biotechnology and in systems biology. The type strain ATCC 13032 possesses 13 two-component systems and the role of five has been elucidated in recent years. They are involved in citrate utilization (CitAB), osmoregulation and cell wall homeostasis (MtrAB), adaptation to phosphate starvation (PhoSR), adaptation to copper stress (CopSR), and heme homeostasis (HrrSA). As C. glutamicum does not only face changing conditions in its natural environment, but also during cultivation in industrial bioreactors of up to 500 m3 volume, adaptability can also be crucial for good performance in biotechnological production processes. Detailed knowledge on two-component signal transduction and regulatory networks therefore will contribute to both the application and the systemic understanding of C. glutamicum and related species.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-012-4428-y.