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Microb Comp Genomics. 2000;5(2):103-20.

A large family of eukaryotic-like protein Ser/Thr kinases of Myxococcus xanthus, a developmental bacterium.

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Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


Myxococcus xanthus is a gram-negative bacterium that forms multicellular fruiting bodies upon starvation. Here, we demonstrate that it contains at least 13 eukaryotic-like protein Ser/Thr kinases (Pkn1 to Pkn13) individually having unique features. All contain the kinase domain of approximately 280 residues near the N-terminal end, which share highly conserved features in eukaryotic Ser/Thr kinases. The kinase domain is followed by a putative regulatory domain consisting of 185 to 692 residues. These regulatory domains share no significant sequence similarities. The C-terminal regions of 11 kinases contain at least 1 transmembrane domain, suggesting that they function as transmembrane sensor kinases. From the recent genomic analysis, protein Ser/Thr kinases were found in various pathogenic bacteria and coexist with protein His kinases. Phylogenetic analysis of these Ser/Thr kinases reveals that all bacterial Ser/Thr kinases were evolved from a common ancestral kinase together with eukaryotic Tyr and Ser/Thr kinases. Coexistence of both Ser/Thr and His kinases in some organisms may be significant in terms of functional differences between the two kinases. We argue that both kinases are essential for some bacteria to adapt optimally to severe environmental changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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