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Cell Res. 2008 Apr;18(4):472-8. doi: 10.1038/cr.2008.36.

Is kinase activity essential for biological functions of BRI1?

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State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics and National Center for Plant Gene Research, Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.


Brassinosteroids (BRs) are a major group of plant hormones that regulate plant growth and development. BRI1, a protein localized to the plasma membrane, functions as a BR receptor and it has been proposed that its kinase activity has an essential role in BR-regulated plant growth and development. Here we report the isolation and molecular characterization of a new allele of bri1, bri1-301, which shows moderate morphological phenotypes and a reduced response to BRs under normal growth conditions. Sequence analysis identified a two-base alteration from GG to AT, resulting in a conversion of 989G to 989I in the BRI1 kinase domain. An in vitro assay of kinase activity showed that bri1-301 has no detectable autophosphorylation activity or phosphorylation activity towards the BRI1 substrates TTL and BAK1. Furthermore, our results suggest that bri1-301, even with extremely impaired kinase activity, still retains partial function in regulating plant growth and development, which raises the question of whether BRI1 kinase activity is essential for BR-mediated growth and development in higher plants.

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