Identification of an effector protein and gain-of-function mutants that activate Pfmrk, a malarial cyclin-dependent protein kinase.
ABSTRACT Cyclin-dependent protein kinases (CDKs) are key regulators of cell cycle control. In humans, CDK7 performs dual roles as the CDK activating kinase (CAK) responsible for regulating numerous CDKs and as the RNA polymerase II carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) kinase involved in the regulation of transcription. Binding of an effector protein, human MAT1, stimulates CDK7 kinase activity and influences substrate specificity. In Plasmodium falciparum, CDKs and their roles in regulating growth and development are poorly understood. In this study, we characterized the regulatory mechanisms of Pfmrk, a putative homolog of human CDK7. We identified an effector, PfMAT1, which stimulates Pfmrk kinase activity in a cyclin-dependent manner. The addition of PfMAT1 stimulated RNA polymerase II CTD phosphorylation and had no effect on the inability of Pfmrk to phosphorylate PfPK5, a putative CDK1 homolog, which suggests that Pfmrk may be a CTD kinase rather than a CAK. In an attempt to abrogate the requirement for PfMAT1 stimulation, we mutated amino acids within the active site of Pfmrk. We found that two independent mutants, S138K and F143L, yielded a 4-10-fold increase in Pfmrk activity. Significant kinase activity of these mutants was observed in the absence of either cyclin or PfMAT1. Finally, we observed autophosphorylation of Pfmrk that is unaffected by the addition of either cyclin or PfMAT1.
- SourceAvailable from: Ralph GraeserMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology 08/1996; 79(1):125-7. · 2.73 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) function as central regulators of both the cell cycle and transcription. CDK activation depends on phosphorylation by a CDK-activating kinase (CAK). Different CAKs have been identified in budding yeast, fission yeast, and metazoans. All known CAKs belong to the extended CDK family. The sole budding yeast CAK, CAK1, and one of the two CAKs in fission yeast, csk1, have diverged considerably from other CDKs. Cell cycle regulatory components have been largely conserved in eukaryotes; however, orthologs of neither CAK1 nor csk1 have been identified in other species to date. To determine the evolutionary relationships of yeast and metazoan CAKs, we performed a phylogenetic analysis of the extended CDK family in budding yeast, fission yeast, humans, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We observed that there were 10 clades for CDK-related genes, of which seven appeared ancestral, containing both yeast and metazoan genes. The four clades that contain CDKs that regulate transcription by phosphorylating the carboxyl-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA Polymerase II generally have only a single orthologous gene in each species of yeast and metazoans. In contrast, the ancestral cell cycle CDK (analogous to budding yeast CDC28) gave rise to a number of genes in metazoans, as did the ancestor of budding yeast PHO85. One ancestral clade is unique in that there are fission yeast and metazoan members, but there is no budding yeast ortholog, suggesting that it was lost subsequent to evolutionary divergence. Interestingly, CAK1 and csk1 branch together with high bootstrap support values. We used both the relative apparent synapomorphy analysis (RASA) method in combination with the S-F method of sampling reduced character sets and gamma-corrected distance methods to confirm that the CAK1/csk1 association was not an artifact of long-branch attraction. This result suggests that CAK1 and csk1 are orthologs and that a central aspect of CAK regulation has been conserved in budding and fission yeast. Although there are metazoan CDK-family members for which we could not define ancestral lineage, our analysis failed to identify metazoan CAK1/csk1 orthologs, suggesting that if the CAK1/csk1 gene existed in the metazoan ancestor, it has not been conserved.Molecular Biology and Evolution 08/2000; 17(7):1061-74. · 10.35 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and development during the life cycle of malaria parasites remain to be elucidated. The peculiarities of the cell cycle organization during Plasmodium falciparum schizogony suggest that the modalities of cell cycle control in this organism may differ from those in other eukaryotes. Indeed, existing data concerning Plasmodium cell cycle regulators such as cyclin-dependent kinases reveal structural and functional properties that are divergent from those of their homologues in other systems. The work presented here lies in the context of the exploitation of the recently available P. falciparum genome sequence toward the characterization of putative cell cycle regulators. We describe the in silico identification of three open reading frames encoding proteins with maximal homology to various members of the cyclin family and demonstrate that the corresponding polypeptides are expressed in the erythrocytic stages of the infection. We present evidence that these proteins possess cyclin activity by demonstrating either their association with histone H1 kinase activity in parasite extracts or their ability to activate PfPK5, a P. falciparum cyclin-dependent kinase homologue, in vitro. Furthermore, we show that RINGO, a protein with no sequence homology to cyclins but that is nevertheless a strong activator of mammalian CDK1/2, is also a strong activator of PfPK5 in vitro. This raises the possibility that "cryptic" cell cycle regulators may be found among the 50% of the open reading frames in the P. falciparum genome that display no homology to any known proteins.Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2003; 278(41):39839-50. · 4.65 Impact Factor