Comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses reveal the evolution of the core two-component signal transduction systems in enterobacteria

Mingsheng Qi, Feng Jie Sun, Gustavo Caetano-Anollés, Youfu Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The two-component signal transduction system (TCST) consists of a histidine kinase (HK) and a response regulator (RR). TCSTs play important roles in sensing and reacting to environmental changes, and in bacterial pathogenesis. Previously, we have identified and characterized TCSTs in Erwinia amylovora, a severe plant enterobacterial pathogen, at genome-wide level. Here we conducted a comparative genomic analysis of TCSTs in 53 genomes of 16 enterobacterial species. These species include important plant, animal, human, and insect pathogenic, saprophytic or symbiotic microorganisms. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that enterobacteria contain eight pairs of core TCSTs. Phylogenetic trees reconstructed from a concatenation of the core set of TCSTs from enterobacteria and for individual TCST proteins from species in Proteobacteria showed that most TCST protein trees in the Enterobacteriaceae or in species of the y-Proteobacteria agreed well with that of the corresponding 16S rRNA gene. It also showed that co-evolutionary relationships existed between cognate partners of the HKs and RRs. Several core TCSTs were quite ancient and universal based on phylogenomic analysis of protein structures. These results indicate that the core TCSTs are relatively conserved, and suggest that these enterobacteria may have maintained their ancient core TCSTs and might acquire specific new TCSTs for their survival in different environments or hosts, or may have evolved new functionalities of the core TCSTs for adaptation to different ecological niches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Classification
  • Enterobacteria
  • Gene regulation
  • Phylogenomics
  • Two-component regulatory system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses reveal the evolution of the core two-component signal transduction systems in enterobacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this