The impact of Arabidopsis thaliana SNF1-related-kinase 1 (SnRK1)-activating kinase 1 (SnAK1) and SnAK2 on SnRK1 phosphorylation status: characterization of a SnAK double mutant

Plant J. 2017 Mar;89(5):1031-1041. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13445. Epub 2017 Feb 17.


Arabidopsis thaliana SNF1-related-kinase 1 (SnRK1)-activating kinase 1 (AtSnAK1) and AtSnAK2 have been shown to phosphorylate in vitro and activate the energy signalling integrator, SnRK1. To clarify this signalling cascade in planta, a genetic- and molecular-based approach was developed. Homozygous single AtSnAK1 and AtSnAK2 T-DNA insertional mutants did not display an apparent phenotype. Crossing of the single mutants did not allow the isolation of double-mutant plants, whereas self-pollinating the S1-/- S2+/- sesquimutant specifically gave approximatively 22% individuals in their offspring that, when rescued on sugar-supplemented media in vitro, were shown to be AtSnAK1 AtSnAK2 double mutants. Interestingly, this was not obtained in the case of the other sesquimutant, S1+/- S2-/-. Although reduced in size, the double mutant had the capacity to produce flowers, but not seeds. Immunological characterization established the T-loop of the SnRK1 catalytic subunit to be non-phosphorylated in the absence of both SnAKs. When the double mutant was complemented with a DNA construct containing an AtSnAK2 open reading frame driven by its own promoter, a normal phenotype was restored. Therefore, wild-type plant growth and development is dependent on the presence of SnAK in vivo, and this is correlated with SnRK1 phosphorylation. These data show that both SnAKs are kinases phosphorylating SnRK1, and thereby they contribute to energy signalling in planta.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; SNF1-related protein kinase-1; SnRK1-activating kinase; double mutant; phosphorylation; signalling cascade.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Phosphorylation / genetics
  • Phosphorylation / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • AtSR1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases