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Plant J. 2003 Aug;35(4):476-89.

The plant cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor ICK1 has distinct functional domains for in vivo kinase inhibition, protein instability and nuclear localization.

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Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5E2.


Interactor/inhibitor 1 of Cdc2 kinase (ICK1) from Arabidopsis thaliana is the first plant cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, and overexpression of ICK1 inhibits CDK activity, cell division and plant growth in transgenic plants. In this study, ICK1 and deletion mutants were expressed either alone or as green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Deletion of the C-terminal 15 or 29 amino acids greatly reduced or completely abolished the effects of ICK1 on the transgenic plants, and recombinant proteins lacking the C-terminal residues lost the ability to bind to CDK complex and the kinase inhibition activity, demonstrating the role of the conserved C-terminal domain in in vivo kinase inhibition. In contrast, the mutant ICK1DeltaN108 with the N-terminal 108 residues deleted had much stronger effects on plants than the full-length ICK1. Analyses demonstrated that this effect was not because of an enhanced ability of ICK1DeltaN108 protein to inhibit CDK activity, but a result of a much higher level of ICK1DeltaN108 protein in the plants, indicating that the N-terminal domain contains a sequence or element increasing protein instability in vivo. Furthermore, GFP-ICK1 protein was restricted to the nuclei in roots of transgenic plants, even with the C-terminal or the N-terminal domain deleted, suggesting that a sequence in the central domain of ICK1 is responsible for nuclear localization. These results provide mechanistic understanding about the function and regulation of this cell cycle regulator in plants.

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