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The family of Ste20-like kinases and their subfamilies.

D. discoideum has 11 representatives (see Figure 1) of PAK, GCK II, III, (V?) and VI subfamilies. Additionally, it contains six Ste20-like kinases in two species specific subfamilies, PAK-like and Ste20-DD1 (Arasada et al., 2006; Goldberg et al., 2006).

The Schleicher group is currently working with 13 Ste20-kinases (excluding the Paks A to D) that have a possible regulatory domain C-terminal of the kinase domain, usually a hallmark for GCK-subfamily kinases. To elucidate the function of these kinases we are analyzing the phenotypes of knockouts and GFP-fusion proteins. So far, we were NOT successful in knocking out Krs2 (DDB0216375), a protein that contains four repeats of a calpain-domain-III, and PakG (DDB0229411). For the other 11 Ste20-like kinases knockout mutants have been isolated.

phylogenetic tree of Ste20 kinases Figure 1: Phylogenetic tree of Ste20-like kinases in Dictyostelium discoideum

A nomenclature for 17 Ste20-like kinase in Dictyostelium discoideum

DictyBase ID/gene name protein Name comment
DDB0191176/svkA severin kinase/sevkin
DDB0191170/krsA Krs1
DDB0216375/krsB Krs2 contains 4x Calpain-domain III
DDB0216377/dst1 DstA
DDB0216378/dst2 DstB
DDB0216379/dst3 DstC
DDB0216374/dst4 DstD
DDB0229414/pakE PakE contains PDB/CRIB domain
DDB0229410/pakF PakF contains PDB/CRIB domain
DDB0229411/pakG PakG contains PDB/CRIB domain
DDB0229408/pakH PakH contains PDB/CRIB domain
DDB0230012/fray1 DFray1
DDB0229911/fray2 DFray2

The nomenclature is based on phylogenetic relationships. Dst stands for Dictyostelium Ste20-like kinase and should make association to the well characterized MSTs in higher organisms. PakE to PakG is the nomenclature suggested by Goldberg et al. based on the presence of functional PBD/CRIB domains N-terminal of the kinase domain. DFray names the D. discoideum homologs of the drosophila kinase fray.

Sevkin - The first member of Ste20-like kinases in D. discoideum

Sevkin was shown to phosphorylate the actin fragmenting protein severin in vitro (Eichinger et al., 1998). The Schleicher group is currently characterizing the knockout phenotype. More soon ...


Arasada, R., Son, H., Ramalingam, N., Eichinger, L., Schleicher, M., and Rohlfs, M. (2006). Characterization of the Ste20-like kinase Krs1 of Dictyostelium discoideum. Eur. J. Cell Biol., in press. [[1]]

Eichinger, L., Bahler, M., Dietz, M., Eckerskorn, C., and Schleicher, M. (1998). Characterization and cloning of a Dictyostelium Ste20-like protein kinase that phosphorylates the actin-binding protein severin. J. Biol. Chem. 273, 12952-12959. [[2]]

Goldberg, J.M., Manning, G., Liu, A., Fey, P., Pilcher, K.E., Xu, Y., and Smith, J.L. (2006). The dictyostelium kinome--analysis of the protein kinases from a simple model organism. PLoS Genet. 2, e38. [[3]]

Meino Rohlfs, August 2006

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