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Cell Cycle. 2013 Mar 15;12(6):884-8. doi: 10.4161/cc.24095. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Crosstalk between casein kinase II and Ste20-related kinase Nak1.

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Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Chromosome Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Although the sterile 20 (Ste20) serine/threonine protein kinase was originally identified as a component of the S. cerevisiae mating pathway, it has homologs in higher eukaryotes and is part of a larger family of Ste20-like kinases. Ste20-like kinases are involved in multiple cellular processes, such as cell growth, morphogenesis, apoptosis and immune response. Carrying out such a diverse array of biological functions requires numerous regulatory inputs and outputs in the form of protein-protein interactions and post-translational modifications. Hence, a thorough knowledge of Ste20-like kinase binding partners and phosphorylation sites will be essential for understanding the various roles of these kinases. Our recent study revealed that Schizosaccharomyces pombe Nak1 (a conserved member of the GC-kinase sub-family of Ste20-like kinases) is in a complex with the leucine-rich repeat-containing protein Sog2. Here, we show a novel and unexpected interaction between the Nak1-Sog2 kinase complex and Casein kinase 2 (Cka1, Ckb1 and Ckb2) using tandem-affinity purification followed by mass spectrometric analysis. In addition, we identify unique phosphosites on Nak1, Sog2 and the catalytic subunit of casein kinase 2, Cka1. Given the conserved nature of these kinases, we expect this work will shed light on the functions of these proteins both in yeast and higher eukaryotes.


Ste20 kinase; casein kinase 2; fission yeast; polar growth

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