, Volume 219, Issue 5, pp 733–742 | Cite as

Plant two-component systems: principles, functions, complexity and cross talk

  • Christopher Grefen
  • Klaus HarterEmail author


Two-component systems have emerged as important sensing/response mechanisms in higher plants. They are composed of hybrid histidine kinases, histidine-containing phosphotransfer domain proteins and response regulators that are biochemically linked by His-to-Asp phosphorelay. In plants two-component systems play a major role in cytokinin perception and signalling and contribute to ethylene signal transduction and osmosensing. Furthermore, developmental processes like megagametogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana and flowering promotion in rice (Oryza sativa) involve elements of two-component systems. Two-component-like elements also function as components of the Arabidopsis circadian clock. Because of the molecular mode of signalling, plant two-component systems also appear to serve as intensive cross talk and signal integration machinery. In this review we summarize the present knowledge about the principles and functions of two-component systems in higher plants and address several critical points with respect to cross talk, signal integration and specificity.


Two-component system Histidine kinase Phosphotransfer protein Response regulator Osmoregulation Signalling (cytokinin, ethylene) 



Arabidopsis histidine kinase


Arabidopsis histidine-containing phosphotransfer domain protein


Arabidopsis pseudo response regulator


Arabidopsis response regulator




Cytokinin insensitive


Cytokinin response


Constitutive triple response


Early heading date


Ethylene insensitive


Ethylene response sensor


Ethylene resistant


Found in Golden2 of maize, Arabidopsis B-type response regulators and Chlamydomonas Psr1


Histidine-containing phosphotransfer domain


Nuclear localization signal


Phytochrome B


Two-component signalling


Timing of CAB (chlorophyll a/b-binding protein) expression


Wooden leg



Because of space limitation, we would like to apologize for not citing the papers of all people working in the area of plant two-component systems. Our research in this area is supported by a DFG/AFGN grant to K.H.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Botanisches InstitutUniversität zu KölnKölnGermany

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