An Arabidopsis kinase cascade influences auxin-responsive cell expansion.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MPK) cascades are conserved mechanisms of signal transduction across eukaryotes. Despite the importance of MPK proteins in signaling events, specific roles for many Arabidopsis MPK proteins remain unknown. Multiple studies have suggested roles for MPK signaling in a variety of auxin-related processes. To identify MPK proteins with roles in auxin response, we screened mpk insertional alleles and identified mpk1-1 as a mutant that displays hypersensitivity in auxin-responsive cell expansion assays. Further, mutants defective in the upstream MAP kinase kinase MKK3 also display hypersensitivity in auxin-responsive cell expansion assays, suggesting that this MPK cascade affects auxin-influenced cell expansion. We found that MPK1 interacts with and phosphorylates ROP BINDING PROTEIN KINASE 1 (RBK1), a protein kinase that interacts with members of the Rho-like GTPases from Plants (ROP) small GTPase family. Similar to mpk1-1 and mkk3-1 mutants, rbk1 insertional mutants display auxin hypersensitivity, consistent with a possible role for RBK1 downstream of MPK1 in influencing auxin-responsive cell expansion. We found that RBK1 directly phosphorylates ROP4 and ROP6, supporting the possibility that RBK1 effects on auxin-responsive cell expansion are mediated through phosphorylation-dependent modulation of ROP activity. Our data suggest a MKK3 • MPK1 • RBK1 phosphorylation cascade that may provide a dynamic module for altering cell expansion.
Enders, TA; Frick, EM; Strader, LC
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