Characterization of cellular and molecular functions of the p21 -activated kinase, Shk1, in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe

Yibing Qyang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The p21-activated kinase, Shk1, is an essential serine/threonine kinase required for normal cell polarity, proper mating response, and hyperosmotic stress response, in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This study has established a novel role for Shk1 as a microtubule regulator in fission yeast and, in addition, characterized a potential biological substrate of Shk1. Cells defective in Shk1 function were found to exhibit malformed interphase and mitotic microtubules, are hypersensitive to the microtubule disrupting drug thiabendazole (TBZ), and are cold sensitive for growth. Microtubule disruption by TBZ results in a significant reduction of Shk1 kinase activity, which is restored after cells are released from the drug, thus providing a correlation between Shk1 kinase activity and active microtubule polymerization. Consistent with a role for Shk1 as a microtubule regulator, GFP-Shk1 fusion proteins localize to interphase microtubules and mitotic microtubule spindles. Furthermore, loss of Tea1, a presumptive microtubule regulator in fission yeast, exacerbates the growth and microtubule defects of cells deficient in Shk1 function, and results in illicit Shk1 localization. Moreover, loss of the Cdc2 inhibitory kinase Wee1, which has been implicated as a mediator of the Shk1 pathway, leads to significant microtubule defects. Intriguingly, Wee1 protein levels are markedly reduced both by partial loss of Shk1 function and by treatment with TBZ. These results suggest that Shk1 is required for proper regulation of microtubule dynamics in fission yeast and may interact with Tea1 and Wee1 in this regulatory process. To further understand Shk1 function in fission yeast, a yeast two-hybrid screen for proteins that interact with the Shk1 catalytic domain was performed. This screen led to the identification of a novel protein, Skb10 (for Shk1 kinase binding protein 10). Coprecipitation experiments demonstrated that Skb10 associates with Shk1 in S. pombe cells. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology|Genetics

Recommended Citation

Qyang, Yibing, "Characterization of cellular and molecular functions of the p21 -activated kinase, Shk1, in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3046070.