Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Plant Sci., 21 February 2014 | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00054

The complex becomes more complex: protein-protein interactions of SnRK1 with DUF581 family proteins provide a framework for cell- and stimulus type-specific SnRK1 signaling in plants

Madlen Nietzsche1, Ingrid Schießl1 and Frederik Börnke2,3*
  • 1Division of Biochemistry, Department of Biology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
  • 2Plant Metabolism Group, Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), Großbeeren, Germany
  • 3Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

In plants, SNF1-related kinase (SnRK1) responds to the availability of carbohydrates as well as to environmental stresses by down-regulating ATP consuming biosynthetic processes, while stimulating energy-generating catabolic reactions through gene expression and post-transcriptional regulation. The functional SnRK1 complex is a heterotrimer where the catalytic α subunit associates with a regulatory β subunit and an activating γ subunit. Several different metabolites as well as the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) have been shown to modulate SnRK1 activity in a cell- and stimulus-type specific manner. It has been proposed that tissue- or stimulus-specific expression of adapter proteins mediating SnRK1 regulation can at least partly explain the differences observed in SnRK1 signaling. By using yeast two-hybrid and in planta bi-molecular fluorescence complementation assays we were able to demonstrate that proteins containing the domain of unknown function (DUF) 581 could interact with both isoforms of the SnRK1α subunit (AKIN10/11) of Arabidopsis. A structure/function analysis suggests that the DUF581 is a generic SnRK1 interaction module and co-expression with DUF581 proteins in plant cells leads to reallocation of the kinase to specific regions within the nucleus. Yeast two-hybrid analyses suggest that SnRK1 and DUF581 proteins share common interaction partners inside the nucleus. The analysis of available microarray data implies that expression of the 19 members of the DUF581 encoding gene family in Arabidopsis is differentially regulated by hormones and environmental cues, indicating specialized functions of individual family members. We hypothesize that DUF581 proteins could act as mediators conferring tissue- and stimulus-type specific differences in SnRK1 regulation.

Keywords: Arabidopsis, SnRK1, DUF581, protein-protein interaction, stress signaling, ABA

Citation: Nietzsche M, Schießl I and Börnke F (2014) The complex becomes more complex: protein-protein interactions of SnRK1 with DUF581 family proteins provide a framework for cell- and stimulus type-specific SnRK1 signaling in plants. Front. Plant Sci. 5:54. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00054

Received: 18 December 2013; Accepted: 04 February 2014;
Published online: 21 February 2014.

Edited by:

Matthew Paul, Rothamsted Research, UK

Reviewed by:

Nigel G. Halford, Rothamsted Research, UK
Cara Ashleigh Griffiths, Monash University, Australia

Copyright © 2014 Nietzsche, Schießl and Börnke. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Frederik Börnke, Plant Metabolism Group, Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), Theodor-Echtermeyer-Weg 1, 14979 Großbeeren, Germany e-mail: boernke@igzev.de

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