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Blue-Light-Activated Histidine Kinases: Two-Component Sensors in Bacteria

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Science  24 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5841, pp. 1090-1093
DOI: 10.1126/science.1144306

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Abstract

Histidine kinases, used for environmental sensing by bacterial two-component systems, are involved in regulation of bacterial gene expression, chemotaxis, phototaxis, and virulence. Flavin-containing domains function as light-sensory modules in plant and algal phototropins and in fungal blue-light receptors. We have discovered that the prokaryotes Brucella melitensis, Brucella abortus, Erythrobacter litoralis, and Pseudomonas syringae contain light-activated histidine kinases that bind a flavin chromophore and undergo photochemistry indicative of cysteinyl-flavin adduct formation. Infection of macrophages by B. abortus was stimulated by light in the wild type but was limited in photochemically inactive and null mutants, indicating that the flavin-containing histidine kinase functions as a photoreceptor regulating B. abortus virulence.

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