Nitrogen regulatory protein PII (IPR002187)

Short name: N-reg_PII

Overlapping homologous superfamilies

Family relationships



In Gram-negative bacteria, the activity and concentration of glutamine synthetase (GS) is regulated in response to nitrogen source availability. PII, a tetrameric protein encoded by the glnB gene, is a component of the adenylation cascade involved in the regulation of GS activity [PMID: 1702507]. In nitrogen-limiting conditions, when the ratio of glutamine to 2-ketoglutarate decreases, P-II is uridylylated on a tyrosine residue to form P-II-UMP. P-II-UMP allows the deadenylation of GS, thus activating the enzyme. Conversely, in nitrogen excess, P-II-UMP is deuridylated and then promotes the adenylation of GS. P-II also indirectly controls the transcription of the GS gene (glnA) by preventing NR-II (ntrB) to phosphorylate NR-I (ntrC) which is the transcriptional activator of glnA. Once P-II is uridylylated, these events are reversed.

P-II is a protein of about 110 amino acid residues extremely well conserved. The tyrosine which is uridylated is located in the central part of the protein. In cyanobacteria, P-II seems to be phosphorylated on a serine residue rather than being uridylated. In methanogenic archaebacteria, the nitrogenase iron protein gene (nifH) is followed by two open reading frames highly similar to the eubacterial P-II protein [PMID: 2068380]. These proteins could be involved in the regulation of nitrogen fixation. In the red alga, Porphyra purpurea, there is a glnB homologue encoded in the chloroplast genome.

Other proteins highly similar to glnB are:

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006808 regulation of nitrogen utilization

Molecular Function

GO:0030234 enzyme regulator activity

Cellular Component

No terms assigned in this category.

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.
PROSITE profiles