The plant cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor ICK1 has distinct functional domains for in vivo kinase inhibition, protein instability and nuclear localization

Plant J. 2003 Aug;35(4):476-89. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01821.x.


Interactor/inhibitor 1 of Cdc2 kinase (ICK1) from Arabidopsis thaliana is the first plant cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, and overexpression of ICK1 inhibits CDK activity, cell division and plant growth in transgenic plants. In this study, ICK1 and deletion mutants were expressed either alone or as green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Deletion of the C-terminal 15 or 29 amino acids greatly reduced or completely abolished the effects of ICK1 on the transgenic plants, and recombinant proteins lacking the C-terminal residues lost the ability to bind to CDK complex and the kinase inhibition activity, demonstrating the role of the conserved C-terminal domain in in vivo kinase inhibition. In contrast, the mutant ICK1DeltaN108 with the N-terminal 108 residues deleted had much stronger effects on plants than the full-length ICK1. Analyses demonstrated that this effect was not because of an enhanced ability of ICK1DeltaN108 protein to inhibit CDK activity, but a result of a much higher level of ICK1DeltaN108 protein in the plants, indicating that the N-terminal domain contains a sequence or element increasing protein instability in vivo. Furthermore, GFP-ICK1 protein was restricted to the nuclei in roots of transgenic plants, even with the C-terminal or the N-terminal domain deleted, suggesting that a sequence in the central domain of ICK1 is responsible for nuclear localization. These results provide mechanistic understanding about the function and regulation of this cell cycle regulator in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / chemistry*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor Proteins
  • ICK1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins