ABSTRACT: Dual-specificity protein phosphatases participate in signal transduction pathways inactivating mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAP kinases). These signaling pathways are of critical importance in the regulation of numerous biological processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation and development. The social ameba Dictyostelium discoideum harbors 14 genes coding for proteins containing regions very similar to the dual-specificity protein phosphatase domain. One of these genes, mkpB, additionally codes for a region similar to the Rhodanase domain, characteristic of animal MAP kinase-phosphatases, in its N-terminal region. Cells that over-express this gene show increased protein phosphatase activity. mkpB is expressed in D. discoideum ameba at growth but it is greatly induced at 12h of multicellular development. Although it is expressed in all the cells of developmental structures, mkpB mRNA is enriched in cells with a distribution typical of anterior-like cells. Cells that express a catalytically inactive mutant of MkpB grow and aggregate like wild-type cells but show a greatly impaired post-aggregative development. In addition, the expression of cell-type specific genes is very delayed, indicating that this protein plays an important role in cell differentiation and development. Cells expressing the MkpB catalytically inactive mutant show increased sensitivity to cisplatin, while cells over-expressing wild type MkpB, or MkpA, proteins or mutated in the MAP kinase erkB gene are more resistant to this chemotherapeutic drug, as also shown in human tumor cells.
Differentiation 02/2011; 81(3):199-207. · 2.81 Impact Factor