Protein Ser, Thr and Tyr kinases play essential roles in signal transduction in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals, where they regulate a variety of cellular activities. During the last few years, a number of genes that encode eukaryotic-type protein kinases have also been identified in four different bacterial species, suggesting that such enzymes are also widespread in prokaryotes. Although many of them have yet to be fully characterized, several studies indicate that eukaryotic-type protein kinases play important roles in regulating cellular activities of these bacteria, such as cell differentiation, pathogenicity and secondary metabolism. A model based on the possible coupling between two-component systems and eukaryotic-type protein kinases is proposed to explain the function of eukaryotic-type protein kinases in bacterial signalling in the light of studies in bacteria, as well as in plants and yeast. These two groups of eukaryotes possess signal-transduction pathways involving both two-component systems and eukaryotic protein kinases.