ZIP kinase identified as a novel myosin regulatory light chain kinase in HeLa cells.
A novel myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) cDNA was isolated from a HeLa cell cDNA library. The deduced amino acid sequence was identical to that of a zipper-interacting protein kinase (ZIPK) which mediates apoptosis [Kawai et al. (1998) Mol. Cell. Biol. 18, 1642-1651]. Here we found that HeLa ZIPK phosphorylated the regulatory light chain of myosin II (MRLC) at both serine 19 and threonine 18 in a Ca2+/calmodulin independent manner. Phosphorylation of myosin II by HeLa ZIPK resulted in activation of actin-activated MgATPase activity of myosin II. HeLa ZIPK is the first non-muscle MLCK that phosphorylates MRLC at two sites. (+info
Hypermethylation of the DAP-kinase CpG island is a common alteration in B-cell malignancies.
Death-associated protein kinase (DAP-Kinase) is a novel serine/threonine kinase whose expression is required for gamma interferon-induced apoptosis. A previous study suggested that DAP-Kinase expression may be lost epigenetically in cancer cell lines, because treatment of several nonexpressing cell lines with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine resulted in the expression of DAP-Kinase. Using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP), we examined the DAP-Kinase CpG island for hypermethylation in cancer. Normal lymphocytes and lymphoblastoid cell lines are unmethylated in the 5' CpG island of DAP-Kinase. However, in primary tumor samples, all Burkitt's lymphomas and 84% of the B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphomas were hypermethylated in the DAP-Kinase CpG island. In contrast, none of the T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma samples and 15% or less of leukemia samples examined had hypermethylated DAP-Kinase alleles. U937, an unmethylated, DAP-Kinase-expressing leukemia cell line, was treated with gamma interferon and underwent apoptosis; however, Raji, a fully methylated, DAP-Kinase nonexpressing Burkitt's lymphoma cell line, only did so when treated with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine followed by gamma interferon. Our findings in cell lines and primary tumors suggest that hypermethylation of the DAP-Kinase gene and loss of gamma interferon-mediated apoptosis may be important in the development of B-cell malignancies and may provide a promising biomarker for B-cell-lineage lymphomas. (+info
Death-associated protein kinase 2 is a new calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase that signals apoptosis through its catalytic activity.
We have identified and characterized a new calcium/calmodulin (Ca2+/CaM) dependent protein kinase termed death-associated protein kinase 2 (DAPK2) that contains an N-terminal protein kinase domain followed by a conserved CaM-binding domain with significant homologies to those of DAP kinase, a protein kinase involved in apoptosis. DAPK2 mRNA is expressed abundantly in heart, lung and skeletal muscle. The mapping results indicated that DAPK2 is located in the central region of mouse chromosome 9. In vitro kinase assay revealed that DAPK2 is autophosphorylated and phosphorylates myosin light chain (MLC) as an exogenous substrate. DAPK2 binds directly to CaM and is activated in a Ca2+/CaM-dependent manner. A constitutively active DAPK2 mutant is generated by removal of the CaM-binding domain (deltaCaM). Treatment of agonists that elevate intracellular Ca2+-concentration led to the activation of DAPK2 and transfection studies revealed that DAPK2 is localized in the cytoplasm. Overexpression of DAPK2, but not the kinase negative mutant, significantly induced the morphological changes characteristic of apoptosis. These results indicate that DAPK2 is an additional member of DAP kinase family involved in apoptotic signaling. (+info
DAP-kinase participates in TNF-alpha- and Fas-induced apoptosis and its function requires the death domain.
Death-associated protein (DAP)-kinase is a calcium/calmodulin regulated serine/threonine kinase that carries ankyrin repeats, a death domain, and is localized to the cytoskeleton. Here, we report that this kinase is involved in tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and Fas-induced apoptosis. Expression of DAP-kinase antisense RNA protected cells from killing by anti-Fas/APO-1 agonistic antibodies. Deletion of the death domain abrogated the apoptotic functions of the kinase, thus, documenting for the first time the importance of this protein domain. Overexpression of a fragment encompassing the death domain of DAP-kinase acted as a specific dominant negative mutant that protected cells from TNF-alpha, Fas, and FADD/MORT1-induced cell death. DAP-kinase apoptotic function was blocked by bcl-2 as well as by crmA and p35 inhibitors of caspases, but not by the dominant negative mutants of FADD/MORT1 or of caspase 8. Thus, it functions downstream to the receptor complex and upstream to other caspases. The multidomain structure of this serine/threonine kinase, combined with its involvement in cell death induced by several different triggers, place DAP-kinase at one of the central molecular pathways leading to apoptosis. (+info
AATF, a novel transcription factor that interacts with Dlk/ZIP kinase and interferes with apoptosis.
Dlk, also known as ZIP kinase, is a serine/threonine kinase that is tightly associated with nuclear structures. Under certain conditions, which require cytoplasmic localization, Dlk can induce apoptosis. In search for interaction partners that might serve as regulators or targets of this kinase we identified apoptosis antagonizing transcription factor (AATF), a nuclear phosphoprotein of 523 amino acids. The 1.8 kb mRNA seems to be ubiquitously expressed. AATF contains an extremely acidic domain and a putative leucine zipper characteristic of transcription factors. Indeed, a Gal4-BD-AATF fusion protein exhibited strong transactivation activity. Interestingly, AATF interfered with Dlk-induced apoptosis. (+info
C-terminal truncation of Dlk/ZIP kinase leads to abrogation of nuclear transport and high apoptotic activity.
Dlk (also termed ZIP kinase) is a novel serine/threonine kinase with a unique C-terminal domain that is rich in arginine and contains three putative NLS motifs and a functional lecuine zipper. Dlk is indeed localized in the nucleus where it shows a speckled distribution. To elucidate the biological functions of Dlk, we wanted to identify the signals relevant for nuclear transport and further the nuclear structures which Dlk binds to. Expression of various deletion and point mutations of Dlk as GFP fusion proteins revealed that the leucine zipper is required for association with speckles and the most C-terminal NLS is necessary and sufficient for nuclear transport. Interestingly, a C-terminal deletion mutant defective for nuclear transport exhibited a pronounced colocalization with actin filaments and, even more strikingly, was a very potent inducer of apoptosis. This apoptotic activity was abrogated, however, when this mutant was retargeted to the nucleus via a heterologous NLS from large T, indicating that Dlk only exerts an apoptotic activity in the cytoplasm. To identify the speckle like structures to which Dlk binds we performed immunofluorescence analyses with antibodies directed against representative marker proteins of replication, transcription, or splicing centers. None of these marker proteins revealed a colocalization with Dlk. Instead, we found a partial colocalization with PML bodies which seem to play a key role in regulation of apoptosis. Taken together, these data strongly suggest a functional role for Dlk in control of cell survival which is dependent on its subcellular localization. (+info
Interaction partners of Dlk/ZIP kinase: co-expression of Dlk/ZIP kinase and Par-4 results in cytoplasmic retention and apoptosis.
Dlk/ZIP kinase is a newly discovered serine/threonine kinase which, due to its homology to DAP kinase, was named DAP like kinase, Dlk. This kinase is tightly associated with nuclear structures, it undergoes extensive autophosphorylation and phosphorylates myosin light chain and core histones H3, H2A and H4 in vitro. Moreover, it possesses a leucine zipper which mediates interaction with transcription factor ATF-4, therefore it was called ZIP kinase. We employed the yeast two-hybrid system to identify interaction partners of Dlk that might serve as regulators or targets. Besides ATF-4 and others we found Par-4, a modulator of transcription factor WT1 and mediator of apoptosis. Complex formation between Dlk and Par-4 was confirmed by GST pull-down experiments and kinase reactions in vitro and coexpression experiments in vivo. The interaction domain within Dlk was mapped to an arginine-rich region between residues 338 - 417, rather than to the leucine zipper. Strikingly, coexpression of Dlk and Par-4 lead to relocation of Dlk from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, particularly to actin filaments. These interactions provoked a dramatic reorganization of the cytoskeleton and morphological symptoms of apoptosis, thus suggesting a functional relationship between Dlk and Par-4 in the control of apoptosis. (+info
Death-associated protein kinase-related protein 1, a novel serine/threonine kinase involved in apoptosis.
In this study we describe the identification and structure-function analysis of a novel death-associated protein (DAP) kinase-related protein, DRP-1. DRP-1 is a 42-kDa Ca(2+)/calmodulin (CaM)-regulated serine threonine kinase which shows high degree of homology to DAP kinase. The region of homology spans the catalytic domain and the CaM-regulatory region, whereas the remaining C-terminal part of the protein differs completely from DAP kinase and displays no homology to any known protein. The catalytic domain is also homologous to the recently identified ZIP kinase and to a lesser extent to the catalytic domains of DRAK1 and -2. Thus, DAP kinase DRP-1, ZIP kinase, and DRAK1/2 together form a novel subfamily of serine/threonine kinases. DRP-1 is localized to the cytoplasm, as shown by immunostaining and cellular fractionation assays. It binds to CaM, undergoes autophosphorylation, and phosphorylates an exogenous substrate, the myosin light chain, in a Ca(2+)/CaM-dependent manner. The truncated protein, deleted of the CaM-regulatory domain, was converted into a constitutively active kinase. Ectopically expressed DRP-1 induced apoptosis in various types of cells. Cell killing by DRP-1 was dependent on two features: the status of the catalytic activity, and the presence of the C-terminal 40 amino acids shown to be required for self-dimerization of the kinase. Interestingly, further deletion of the CaM-regulatory region could override the indispensable role of the C-terminal tail in apoptosis and generated a "superkiller" mutant. A dominant negative fragment of DAP kinase encompassing the death domain was found to block apoptosis induced by DRP-1. Conversely, a catalytically inactive mutant of DRP-1, which functioned in a dominant negative manner, was significantly less effective in blocking cell death induced by DAP kinase. Possible functional connections between DAP kinase and DRP-1 are discussed. (+info