The Dictyostelium Kinome—Analysis of the Protein Kinases from a Simple Model Organism
1 Boston Biomedical Research Institute, Watertown, Massachusetts, United States of America, 2 Razavi-Newman Center for Bioinformatics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, California, United States of America, 3 Center for Genetic Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Dictyostelium discoideum is a widely studied model organism with both unicellular and multicellular forms in its developmental cycle. The Dictyostelium genome encodes 285 predicted protein kinases, similar to the count of the much more advanced Drosophila. It contains members of most kinase classes shared by fungi and metazoans, as well as many previously thought to be metazoan specific, indicating that they have been secondarily lost from the fungal lineage. This includes the entire tyrosine kinase–like (TKL) group, which is expanded in Dictyostelium and includes several novel receptor kinases. Dictyostelium lacks tyrosine kinase group kinases, and most tyrosine phosphorylation appears to be mediated by TKL kinases. About half of Dictyostelium kinases occur in subfamilies not present in yeast or metazoa, suggesting that protein kinases have played key roles in the adaptation of Dictyostelium to its habitat. This study offers insights into kinase evolution and provides a focus for signaling analysis in this system.
Abbreviations: aPK, atypical protein kinase; CaM, calmodulin; CK1, cell or casein kinase 1; ePK, eukaryotic protein kinase; EST, expressed sequence tag; HisK, histidine kinase; HMM, hidden Markov model; TKL, tyrosine kinase–like; TMD, transmembrane domain
PLoS Genet 2(3): e38. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.