We describe here the cloning and characterization of a cDNA encoding a protein kinase that has high sequence homology to members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase kinase (MAPKKK or MEKK) family; this cDNA is named cATMEKK1 (Arabidopsis thaliana MAP kinase or ERK kinase kinase 1). The catalytic domain of the putative ATMEKK1 protein shows ≈40% identity with the amino acid sequences of the catalytic domains of MAP-KKKs (such as Byr2 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Ste11 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Bck1 from S. cerevisiae, MEKK from mouse, and NPK1 from tobacco). In yeast cells that overexpress ATMEKK1, the protein kinase replaces Ste11 in responding to mating pheromone. In this study, the expression of three protein kinases was examined by Northern blot analyses: ATMEKK1 (structurally related to MAPKKK), ATMPK3 (structurally related to MAPK), and ATPK19 (structurally related to ribosomal S6 kinase). The mRNA levels of these three protein kinases increased markedly and simultaneously in response to touch, cold, and salinity stress. These results suggest that MAP kinase cascades, which are thought to respond to a variety of extracellular signals, are regulated not only at the posttranslational level but also at the transcriptional level in plants and that MAP kinase cascades in plants may function in transducing signals in the presence of environmental stress.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 23 1996|
ASJC Scopus subject areas