In the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase (PKA) is not essential for viability under normal culturing conditions, making this organism attractive for investigating mechanisms of PKA regulation. Here we show that S. pombe cells carrying a deletion in the adenylate cyclase gene, cyr1, express markedly higher levels of the PKA catalytic subunit, Pka1, than wild type cells. Significantly, in cyr1Delta cells, but not wild type cells, a substantial proportion of Pka1 protein is hyperphosphorylated. Pka1 hyperphosphorylation is strongly induced in cyr1Delta cells, and to varying degrees in wild type cells, by both glucose starvation and stationary phase stresses, which are associated with reduced cAMP-dependent PKA activity, and by KCl stress, the cellular adaptation to which is dependent on PKA activity. Interestingly, hyperphosphorylation of Pka1 was not detected in either cyr1(+) or cyr1Delta S. pombe strains carrying a deletion in the PKA regulatory subunit gene, cgs1, under any of the tested conditions. Our results demonstrate the existence of a cAMP-independent mechanism of PKA catalytic subunit phosphorylation, which we propose could serve as a mechanism for inducing or maintaining specific PKA functions under conditions in which its cAMP-dependent activity is downregulated.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.