DosS/DosR is a two-component regulatory system in which DosS, a heme-containing sensor also known as DevS, under certain conditions undergoes autophosphorylation and then transfers the phosphate to DosR, a DNA-binding protein that controls the entry of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
and other mycobacteria into a latent, dormant state. DosT, a second sensor closely related to DosS, is present in M. tuberculosis
and participates in the control of the dormancy response mediated by DosR. The binding of phosphorylated DosR to DNA initiates the expression of approximately fifty dormancy-linked genes. DosT is accepted to be a gas sensor that is activated in the ferrous state by the absence of an oxygen ligand or by the binding of NO or CO. DosS functions in a similar fashion as a gas sensor, but contradictory evidence has led to the suggestion that it also functions as a redox state sensor. This review focuses on the structure, biophysical properties, and function of the DosS/DosT heme sensors.