Signal transduction systems are influenced by positive and negative forces resulting in an output reflecting the sum of the opposing forces. The Rap family of regulatory protein modules control the output of two-component signal transduction systems through protein∶protein and protein∶peptide interactions. These modules and their peptide regulators are found in complex signaling pathways, including the bacterial developmental pathway to sporulation, competence, and protease secretion. Two articles published in the current issue of PLOS Biology reveal by means of crystallographic analyses how the Rap proteins of bacilli are regulated by their inhibitor Phr peptide and provide a mechanistic explanation for a genetic phenotype isolated decades earlier. The Rap-Phr module of bacterial regulators was the prototype of a family that now extends to other bacterial signaling proteins that involve the use of the tetratricopeptide repeat structural fold. The results invite speculation regarding the potential exploitation of this module as a molecular tool for applications in therapeutic design and biotechnology.