PipX is a unique cyanobacterial protein identified by its ability to bind to PII and NtcA, two key regulators involved in the integration of signals of the nitrogen/carbon and energy status, with a tremendous impact on nitrogen assimilation and gene expression in cyanobacteria. PipX provides a mechanistic link between PII, the most widely distributed signaling protein, and NtcA, a global transcriptional regulator of cyanobacteria. PII, required for cell survival unless PipX is inactivated or down-regulated, functions by protein–protein interactions with transcriptional regulators, transporters, and enzymes. In addition, PipX appears to be involved in a wider signaling network, supported by the following observations: (i) PII–PipX complexes interact with PlmA, an as yet poorly characterized transcriptional regulator also restricted to cyanobacteria; (ii) the pipX
gene is functionally connected with pipY
, a gene encoding a universally conserved pyridoxal phosphate binding protein (PLPBP) involved in vitamin B6 and amino acid homeostasis, whose loss-of-function mutations cause B6-dependent epilepsy in humans, and (iii) pipX
is part of a relatively robust, six-node synteny network that includes pipY
and four additional genes that might also be functionally connected with pipX
. In this overview, we propose that the study of the protein–protein interaction and synteny networks involving PipX would contribute to understanding the peculiarities and idiosyncrasy of signaling pathways that are conserved in cyanobacteria.
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