GENE, vol.546, no.1, pp.40-49, 2014 (SCI-Expanded)
Environmental effects and mitogens determine cell phenotype in eukaryotes mainly through MAPK pathways. However, MAPK signaling pathways in T. thermophila have not been studied comprehensively. This study aims to express recombinant MPK2, a MAPK from T. thermophila, in E. coli to characterize its kinase activity. MPK2 was cloned by RT-PCR using degenerate oligonucleotide primers and RACE method. The full-length cDNA of the MPK2 gene is 1705 bp that includes 1281 bp ORE coding for a putative protein of 426 amino acids having a mass of 50.2 kDa. The putative MPK2 protein contains all eleven conserved subdomains that are characteristics of serine/threonine protein kinases, and a TDY motif, which is a putative dual phosphorylation site common in Protista. MPK2 displays highest 48% overall identity to human ERK5 (MAPK7). The expression vector pGEX4T-1-MPK2 was constructed by inserting the coding region of MPK2 cDNA into pGEX4T-1 after introducing the nine point mutations, and then transformed into E. coli BL21(DE3). Autophosphorylation of 76 kDa GST-MPK2 at tyrosine residues was confirmed not only by Western blot using anti-phosphotyrosine monoclonal antibody but also by in vitro kinase assay. GST-MPK2 was also able to phosphorylate the artificial substrate myelin basic protein. This study concludes that the free-living unicellular protist T. thermophila MPK2 has commonly conserved MAPK enzyme features, possibly involved in the regulation of cell survival responding to abiotic or biotic stressors, and the production and movement of haploid gametic nuclei between pairs during conjugation. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.