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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 29, 1994; 91(7): 2582–2586.

Light and nutritional regulation of transcripts encoding a wheat protein kinase homolog is mediated by cytokinins.


Many metabolic processes in plants are regulated by phosphorylation of proteins by kinases, but little is known of the roles that specific protein kinase play in the various signal transduction pathways or the mechanisms by which these kinases themselves are regulated. We report here the isolation of a gene, wpk4, encoding a putative protein kinase from wheat that appears to belong to the SNF1 kinase subfamily and that shows increased transcript levels in response to multiple stimuli: light, nutrient deprivation, and cytokinin application. Although wpk4 mRNA is undetectable in etiolated seedlings, it rapidly accumulates within 1 hr of illumination. General nutrient deprivation also increases wpk4 mRNA levels, but only under light conditions. In addition, of the various phytohormones tested, cytokinin (N6-benzylaminopurine) specifically increases wpk4 mRNA levels regardless of the light conditions, whereas in the presence of a cytokinin antagonist the level of wpk4 mRNA is not increased by either light or nutrient deprivation. These results suggest that the light and nutrient signals that induce wpk4 mRNA accumulation may be mediated through cytokinins and provide a strong basis for examining the coordinated regulation of protein phosphorylation by light, cytokinins, and nutritional cues in a single transduction pathway.

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