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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Jul;6(7):555-66.

Plants, symbiosis and parasites: a calcium signalling connection.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, MS200, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA. jfharper@unr.edu


A unique family of protein kinases has evolved with regulatory domains containing sequences that are related to Ca(2+)-binding EF-hands. In this family, the archetypal Ca(2+)-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) have been found in plants and some protists, including the malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. Recent genetic evidence has revealed isoform-specific functions for a CDPK that is essential for Plasmodium berghei gametogenesis, and for a related chimeric Ca(2+) and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CCaMK) that is essential to the formation of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing nodules in plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the analysis of 42 isoforms of CDPK and related kinases is expected to delineate Ca(2+) signalling pathways in all aspects of plant biology.

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