The Saccharomyces cerevisiae piD261/Bud32 protein and its structural homologues, which are present along the Archaea–Eukarya lineage, constitute a novel protein kinase family (the piD261 family) distantly related in sequence to the eukaryotic protein kinase superfamily. It has been demonstrated that the yeast protein displays Ser/Thr phosphotransferase activity in vitro and contains all the invariant residues of the family. This novel protein kinase appears to play an important cellular role as deletion in yeast of the gene encoding piD261/Bud32 results in the alteration of fundamental processes such as cell growth and sporulation. In this work we show that the phosphotransferase activity of Bud32 is relevant to its functionality in vivo, but is not the unique role of the protein, since mutants which have lost catalytic activity but not native conformation can partially complement the disruption of the gene encoding piD261/Bud32. A two-hybrid approach has led to the identification of several proteins interacting with Bud32; in particular a glutaredoxin (Grx4), a putative glycoprotease (Ykr038/Kae1) and proteins of the Imd (inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase) family seem most plausible interactors. We further demonstrate that Grx4 directly interacts with Bud32 and that it is phosphorylated in vitro by Bud32 at Ser-134. The functional significance of the interaction between Bud32 and the putative protease Ykr038/Kae1 is supported by its evolutionary conservation.

Abbreviations used: PRPK, p53-related protein kinase; IMD, inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase; Grx, glutaredoxin; PKA, cAMP-dependent protein kinase; GFP, green fluorescent protein; Gal4 BD, Gal4 DNA-binding domain; Gal4 AD, Gal4 transcriptional activation domain; SPR, surface plasmon resonance; HA, haemagglutinin; MALDI, matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization.

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Author notes

1

These authors contributed equally to this work.