The DYRKs (dual specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinases) are a conserved family of protein kinases that autophosphorylate a tyrosine residue in their activation loop by an intra-molecular mechanism and phosphorylate exogenous substrates on serine/threonine residues. Little is known about the identity of true substrates for DYRK family members and their binding partners. To address this question, we used full-length dDYRK2 (Drosophila DYRK2) as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen of a Drosophila embryo cDNA library. Of 14 independent dDYRK2 interacting clones identified, three were derived from the chromatin remodelling factor, SNR1 (Snf5-related 1), and three from the essential chromatin component, TRX (trithorax). The association of dDYRK2 with SNR1 and TRX was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation studies. Deletion analysis showed that the C-terminus of dDYRK2 modulated the interaction with SNR1 and TRX. DYRK family member MNB (Minibrain) was also found to co-precipitate with SNR1 and TRX, associations that did not require the C-terminus of the molecule. dDYRK2 and MNB were also found to phosphorylate SNR1 at Thr102in vitro and in vivo. This phosphorylation required the highly conserved DH-box (DYRK homology box) of dDYRK2, whereas the DH-box was not essential for phosphorylation by MNB. This is the first instance of phosphorylation of SNR1 or any of its homologues and implicates the DYRK family of kinases with a role in chromatin remodelling.

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