Differential phosphorylation of plant translation initiation factors by Arabidopsis thaliana CK2 holoenzymes

Michael D. Dennis, Karen S. Browning

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A previously described wheat germ protein kinase (Yan, T. F., and Tao, M. (1982) J. Biol. Chem. 257, 7037-7043) was identified unambiguously as CK2 using mass spectrometry. CK2 is a ubiquitous eukaryotic protein kinase that phosphorylates a wide range of substrates. In previous studies, this wheat germ kinase was shown to phosphorylate eIF2α, eIF3c, and three large subunit (60 S) ribosomal proteins (Browning, K. S., Yan, T. F., Lauer, S. J., Aquino, L. A., Tao, M., and Ravel, J. M. (1985) Plant Physiol. 77, 370-373). To further characterize the role of CK2 in the regulation of translation initiation, Arabidopsis thaliana catalytic (α1 and α2) and regulatory (β1, β2, β3, and β4) subunits of CK2 were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. Recombinant A. thaliana CK2β subunits spontaneously dimerize and assemble into holoenzymes in the presence of either CK2α1 or CK2α2 and exhibit autophosphorylation. The purified CK2 subunits were used to characterize the properties of the individual subunits and their ability to phosphorylate various plant protein substrates. CK2 was shown to phosphorylate eIF2α, eIF2β, eIF3c, eIF4B, eIF5, and histone deacetylase 2B but did not phosphorylate eIF1, eIF1A, eIF4A, eIF4E, eIF4G, eIFiso4E, or eIFiso4G. Differential phosphorylation was exhibited by CK2 in the presence of various regulatory β-subunits. Analysis of A. thaliana mutants either lacking or overexpressing CK2 subunits showed that the amount of eIF2β protein present in extracts was affected, which suggests that CK2 phosphorylation may play a role in eIF2β stability. These results provide evidence for a potential mechanism through which the expression and/or subcellular distribution of CK2 β-subunits could participate in the regulation of the initiation of translation and other physiological processes in plants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20602-20614
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number31
StatePublished - Jul 31 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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