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J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 4;286(5):3429-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.115535. Epub 2010 Nov 22.

SNF1-related protein kinases 2 are negatively regulated by a plant-specific calcium sensor.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Pawińskiego 5a, 02-106, Poland.


SNF1-related protein kinases 2 (SnRK2s) are plant-specific enzymes involved in environmental stress signaling and abscisic acid-regulated plant development. Here, we report that SnRK2s interact with and are regulated by a plant-specific calcium-binding protein. We screened a Nicotiana plumbaginifolia Matchmaker cDNA library for proteins interacting with Nicotiana tabacum osmotic stress-activated protein kinase (NtOSAK), a member of the SnRK2 family. A putative EF-hand calcium-binding protein was identified as a molecular partner of NtOSAK. To determine whether the identified protein interacts only with NtOSAK or with other SnRK2s as well, we studied the interaction of an Arabidopsis thaliana orthologue of the calcium-binding protein with selected Arabidopsis SnRK2s using a two-hybrid system. All kinases studied interacted with the protein. The interactions were confirmed by bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay, indicating that the binding occurs in planta, exclusively in the cytoplasm. Calcium binding properties of the protein were analyzed by fluorescence spectroscopy using Tb(3+) as a spectroscopic probe. The calcium binding constant, determined by the protein fluorescence titration, was 2.5 ± 0.9 × 10(5) M(-1). The CD spectrum indicated that the secondary structure of the protein changes significantly in the presence of calcium, suggesting its possible function as a calcium sensor in plant cells. In vitro studies revealed that the activity of SnRK2 kinases analyzed is inhibited in a calcium-dependent manner by the identified calcium sensor, which we named SCS (SnRK2-interacting calcium sensor). Our results suggest that SCS is involved in response to abscisic acid during seed germination most probably by negative regulation of SnRK2s activity.

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