A survey of HK, HPt, and RR domains and their organization in two-component systems and phosphorelay proteins of organisms with fully sequenced genomes
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Two Component Systems and Phosphorelays (TCS/PR) are environmental signal transduction cascades in prokaryotes and, less frequently, in eukaryotes. The internal domain organization of proteins and the topology of TCS/PR cascades play an important role in shaping the responses of the circuits. It is
thus important to maintain updated censuses of TCS/PR proteins in order to identify the various topologies used by nature and enable a systematic study of the dynamics associated with those topologies. To create such a census, we analyzed the proteomes of 7,609 organisms from all domains of life with fully sequenced and annotated genomes. To begin, we survey each proteome searching for proteins containing domains that are associated with internal signal transmission within TCS/PR: Histidine Kinase (HK), Response Regulator (RR) and Histidine Phosphotranfer (HPt) domains, and analyze how these domains are arranged in the individual proteins. Then, we find all types of operon organization and calculate howmuch more likely are proteins that contain TCS/PR domains to be coded by neighboring genes than one would expect fromthe genome background of each organism. Finally, we analyze if the fusion of domains into single TCS/PR proteins is more frequently observed than one might expect from the background of each proteome. We find 50 alternative ways in which the HK, HPt, and RR domains are observed to organize into single proteins. In prokaryotes, TCS/PR coding genes tend to be clustered in operons. 90% of all proteins identified in this study contain just one of the three domains, while 8% of the remaining proteins combine one copy of an HK, a RR, and/or an HPt domain. In eukaryotes, 25% of all TCS/PR proteins have more than one domain. These results might have implications for how signals are internally transmitted within TCS/PR cascades. These implications could explain the selection of the various designs in alternative circumstances.