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Nature. 1998 Jan 8;391(6663):191-5.

Interaction of a G-protein beta-subunit with a conserved sequence in Ste20/PAK family protein kinases.

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  • 1Eukaryotic Genetics Group, Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montreal, Quebec.


Serine/threonine protein kinases of the Ste20/PAK family have been implicated in the signalling from heterotrimeric G proteins to mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Ste20 is involved in transmitting the mating-pheromone signal from the betagamma-subunits (encoded by the STE4 and STE18 genes, respectively) of a heterotrimeric G protein to a downstream MAP kinase cascade. We have identified a binding site for the G-protein beta-subunit (Gbeta) in the non-catalytic carboxy-terminal regions of Ste20 and its mammalian homologues, the p21-activated protein kinases (PAKs). Association of Gbeta with this site in Ste20 was regulated by binding of pheromone to the receptor. Mutations in Gbeta and Ste20 that prevented this association blocked activation of the MAP kinase cascade. Considering the high degree of structural and functional conservation of Ste20/PAK family members and G-protein subunits, our results provide a possible model for a role of these kinases in Gbetagamma-mediated signal transduction in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals.

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