We have isolated a cDNA (cNPK1) that encodes a predicted protein kinase of 690 amino acids from suspension cultures of tobacco cells. The deduced sequence is closely related to those of the protein kinases encoded by the STE11 and BCK1 genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the byr2 gene of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. STE11 and Byr2 function in the yeast mating pheromone response pathways, and BCK1 acts downstream of the yeast protein kinase C homolog encoded by the PKC1 gene, which is essential for normal growth and division of yeast cells. Overexpression in yeast cells of a truncated form of cNPK1, which encodes only the putative catalytic domain, replaced the growth control functions of BCK1 and PKC1 but not the mating pheromone response function of STE11. Thus, the catalytic domain of NPK1 specifically activates the signal transduction pathway mediated by BCK1 in yeast. In tobacco cells in suspension culture, the NPK1 gene is transcribed during logarithmic phase and early stationary phase but not during late stationary phase. In a tobacco plant, it is also transcribed in stems and roots but not in mature leaves, which rarely contain growing cells. The present results suggest that a signal transduction pathway mediated by this BCK1- and STE11-related protein kinase is also conserved in plants and that a function of NPK1 is controlled at least in part at a transcriptional level.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology