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Plant Physiol. 2008 Nov;148(3):1570-82. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.123026. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

Beta-subunits of the SnRK1 complexes share a common ancestral function together with expression and function specificities; physical interaction with nitrate reductase specifically occurs via AKINbeta1-subunit.

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Laboratoire Signalisation et Régulation Coordonnée du Métabolisme Carboné et Azoté, Institut de Biotechnologie des Plantes (UMR8618), Université Paris-Sud, F-91405 Orsay cedex, France.


The SNF1/AMPK/SnRK1 kinases are evolutionary conserved kinases involved in yeast, mammals, and plants in the control of energy balance. These heterotrimeric enzymes are composed of one alpha-type catalytic subunit and two gamma- and beta-type regulatory subunits. In yeast it has been proposed that the beta-type subunits regulate both the localization of the kinase complexes within the cell and the interaction of the kinases with their targets. In this work, we demonstrate that the three beta-type subunits of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana; AKINbeta1, AKINbeta2, and AKINbeta3) restore the growth phenotype of the yeast sip1Deltasip2Deltagal83Delta triple mutant, thus suggesting the conservation of an ancestral function. Expression analyses, using AKINbeta promoterbeta-glucuronidase transgenic lines, reveal different and specific patterns of expression for each subunit according to organs, developmental stages, and environmental conditions. Finally, our results show that the beta-type subunits are involved in the specificity of interaction of the kinase with the cytosolic nitrate reductase. Together with previous cell-free phosphorylation data, they strongly support the proposal that nitrate reductase is a real target of SnRK1 in the physiological context. Altogether our data suggest the conservation of ancestral basic function(s) together with specialized functions for each beta-type subunit in plants.

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