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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Oct;12(10):2856-73. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M113.029579. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Sucrose-induced receptor kinase SIRK1 regulates a plasma membrane aquaporin in Arabidopsis.

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Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476 Golm, Germany;


The transmembrane receptor kinase family is the largest protein kinase family in Arabidopsis, and it contains the highest fraction of proteins with yet uncharacterized functions. Here, we present functions of SIRK1, a receptor kinase that was previously identified with rapid transient phosphorylation after sucrose resupply to sucrose-starved seedlings. SIRK1 was found to be an active kinase with increasing activity in the presence of an external sucrose supply. In sirk1 T-DNA insertional mutants, the sucrose-induced phosphorylation patterns of several membrane proteins were strongly reduced; in particular, pore-gating phosphorylation sites in aquaporins were affected. SIRK1-GFP fusions were found to directly interact with aquaporins in affinity pull-down experiments on microsomal membrane vesicles. Furthermore, protoplast swelling assays of sirk1 mutants and SIRK1-GFP expressing lines confirmed a direct functional interaction of receptor kinase SIRK1 and aquaporins as substrates for phosphorylation. A lack of SIRK1 expression resulted in the failure of mutant protoplasts to control water channel activity upon changes in external sucrose concentrations. We propose that SIRK1 is involved in the regulation of sucrose-specific osmotic responses through direct interaction with and activation of an aquaporin via phosphorylation and that the duration of this response is controlled by phosphorylation-dependent receptor internalization.

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