Atypical protein kinases of the RIO (right open reading frame) kinase family are found in all three domains of life, emphasizing their essential function. In all archaeal genomes sequenced to date, typically two, but at least one, members of the RIO kinase family have been identified. Although the function of RIO kinases in Archaea remains to be resolved, bioinformatics analysis (e.g. comparison of the phylogenetic distribution and gene neighbourhood analysis, as well as interaction analysis) in combination with the available phosphoproteome study of Sulfolobus solfataricus provided some first hints to the possible function as well as revealed some putative target proteins for RIO kinases in Archaea. This study suggests a possible function of archaeal RIO kinases in RNA and/or DNA binding/processing translation initiation or ribosomal biogenesis resembling the assumed physiological role in yeast.

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