Systematic trans-genomic comparison of protein kinases between arabidopsis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Degeng Wang, Jeffrey F. Harper, Michael Gribskov

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66 Scopus citations


The genome of the budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) provides an important paradigm for transgenomic comparisons with other eukaryotic species. Here, we report a systematic comparison of the protein kinases of yeast (119 kinases) and a reference plant Arabidopsis (1,019 kinases). Using a whole-protein-based, hierarchical clustering approach, the complete set of protein kinases from both species were clustered. We validated our clustering by three observations: (a) clustering pattern of functional orthologs proven in genetic complementation experiments, (b) consistency with reported classifications of yeast kinases, and (c) consistency with the biochemical properties of those Arabidopsis kinases already experimentally characterized. The clustering pattern identified no overlap between yeast kinases and the receptor-like kinases (RLKs) of Arabidopsis. Ten more kinase families were found to be specific for one of the two species. Among them, the calcium-dependent protein kinase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase kinase families are specific for plants, whereas the Ca 2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase and provirus insertion in mouse-like kinase families were found only in yeast and animals. Three yeast kinase families, nitrogen permease reactivator/halotolerance-5), polyamine transport kinase, and negative regulator of sexual conjugation and meiosis, are absent in both plants and animals. The majority of yeast kinase families (21 of 26) display Arabidopsis counterparts, and all are mapped into Arabidopsis families of intracellular kinases that are not related to RLKs. Representatives from 11 of the common families (54 kinases from Arabidopsis and 17 from yeast) share an extremely high degree of similarity (blast E value < 10 -80), suggesting the likelihood of orthologous functions. Selective expansion of yeast kinase families was observed in Arabidopsis. This is most evident for yeast genes CBK1, HRR25, and SNF1 and the kinase family S6K. Reduction of kinase families was also observed, as in the case of the NEK-like family. The distinguishing features between the two sets of kinases are the selective expansion of yeast families and the generation of a limited number of new kinase families for new functionality in Arabidopsis, most notably, the Arabidopsis RLKs that constitute important components of plant intercellular communication apparatus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2152-2165
Number of pages14
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


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