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Structural diversity of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase regulatory subunit in Caenorhabditis elegans

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martyna PastokORCiD


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The cAMP-dependent protein kinase (protein kinase A, PK-A) plays a key role in the control of eukaryotic cellular activity. The enzymology of PK-A in the free-living nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans is deceptively simple. Single genes encode the catalytic (C) subunit (kin-1), the regulatory (R) subunit (kin-2) and an A-kinase anchor protein (AKAP) (aka-1); nonetheless, PK-A is able to facilitate a comprehensive array of cAMP-mediated processes in this model multicellular organism. We have previously demonstrated that, in C. elegans, as many as 12 different isoforms of the C-subunit arise as a consequence of alternative splicing strategies. Here, we report the occurrence of transcripts encoding novel isoforms of the PK-A R-subunit in C. elegans. In place of exons 1 and 2, these transcripts include coding sequences from novel B or Q exons directly linked to exon 3, thereby generating isoforms with novel N-termini. R-subunits containing an exon B-encoded N-terminal polypeptide sequence were detected in extracts prepared from mixed populations of C. elegans. Of note is the observation that R-subunit isoforms containing exon B- or exon Q-encoded polypeptide sequences lack the dimerisation/docking domains conventionally seen in R-subunits. This means that they are unlikely to participate in the formation of tetrameric PK-A holoenzymes and, additionally, they are unlikely to interact with AKAP(s). It is therefore possible that, in C. elegans, in addition to tetrameric (R(2)C(2)) PK-A holoenzymes, there is also a sub-population of dimeric (RC) PK-A enzymes that are not tethered by AKAPs. Furthermore, inspection of the N-terminal sequence encoded by exon B suggests that this isoform is a likely target for N-myristoylation. Although unusual, a number of similarly N-myristoylatable R-subunits, from a range of different species, are present in the databases, suggesting that this may be a more generally observed feature of R-subunit structure. The occurrence of R-subunit isoforms, without dimerisation/docking domains (with or without N-myristoylatable N-termini) in other species would suggest that the control of PK-A activity may be more complex than hitherto thought.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pastok MW, Prescott MC, Dart C, Murray PA, Rees HH, Fisher MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cellular Signalling

Year: 2013

Volume: 25

Issue: 1

Pages: 168-177

Print publication date: 25/01/2013

ISSN (print): 0898-6568

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3913

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2012.09.006


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