Journal Article Structure, function, and evolution of plant NIMA-related kinases: implication for phosphorylation-dependent microtubule regulation

Takatani, Shogo  ,  Otani, Kento  ,  Kanazawa, Mai  ,  Takahashi, Taku  ,  Motose, Hiroyasu

128 ( 6 )  , pp.875 - 891 , 2015-11 , Springer Japan
icrotubules are highly dynamic structures that control the spatiotemporal pattern of cell growth and division. Microtubule dynamics are regulated by reversible protein phosphorylation involving both protein kinases and phosphatases. Never in mitosis A (NIMA)-related kinases (NEKs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases that regulate microtubule-related mitotic events in fungi and animal cells (e.g. centrosome separation and spindle formation). Although plants contain multiple members of the NEK family, their functions remain elusive. Recent studies revealed that NEK6 of Arabidopsis thaliana regulates cell expansion and morphogenesis through β-tubulin phosphorylation and microtubule destabilization. In addition, plant NEK members participate in organ development and stress responses. The present phylogenetic analysis indicates that plant NEK genes are diverged from a single NEK6-like gene, which may share a common ancestor with other kinases involved in the control of microtubule organization. On the contrary, another mitotic kinase, polo-like kinase, might have been lost during the evolution of land plants. We propose that plant NEK members have acquired novel functions to regulate cell growth, microtubule organization, and stress responses.

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