Identification of proteins that interact with catalytically active calcium-dependent protein kinases from Arabidopsis

Mol Genet Genomics. 2009 Apr;281(4):375-90. doi: 10.1007/s00438-008-0419-1. Epub 2009 Jan 8.


Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) are essential sensor-transducers of calcium signaling pathways in plants. Functional characterization of CDPKs is of great interest because they play important roles during growth, development, and in response to a wide range of environmental stimuli. The Arabidopsis genome encodes 34 CDPKs, but very few substrates of these enzymes have been identified. In this study, we exploited the unique characteristics of CDPKs to develop an efficient approach for the discovery of CDPK-interacting proteins. High-throughput, semi-automated yeast two-hybrid interaction screens with two different cDNA libraries each containing 18 million prey clones were performed using catalytically impaired and constitutively active AtCPK4 and AtCPK11 variants as baits. The use of the constitutively active versions of the CPK baits improved the recovery of positive interacting proteins relative to the wild type kinase. Titration of interaction strength by growth under increasing concentrations of 3-aminotriazole (3-AT), a histidine analog and competitive inhibitor of the His3 gene product, confirmed these results. Possible mechanisms for this observed improvement are discussed. The reproducibility of this approach was assessed by the overlap of several interacting proteins of AtCPK4 and AtCPK11 and the recovery of several putative substrates and indicated that yeast two-hybrid screens using constitutively active and/or catalytically impaired forms of CDPK provides a useful tool to identify potential substrates of the CDPK family and potentially the entire protein kinase superfamily.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Catalysis
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Plant
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Protein Kinases
  • calcium-dependent protein kinase