Protein kinases are central to regulation of cellular signaling in the eukaryotes. Well-conserved and lineage-specific protein kinases have previously been identified from various completely sequenced genomes of eukaryotes. The current work describes a genome-wide analysis for protein kinases encoded in the Plasmodium falciparum genome. Using a few different profile matching methods, we have identified 99 protein kinases or related proteins in the parasite genome. We have classified these kinases into subfamilies and analyzed them in the context of noncatalytic domains that occur in these catalytic kinase domain-containing proteins. Compared to most eukaryotic protein kinases, these sequences vary significantly in terms of their lengths, inserts in catalytic domains, and co-occurring domains. Catalytic and noncatalytic domains contain long stretches of repeats of positively charged and other polar amino acids. Various components of the cell cycle, including 4 cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) homologues, 2 cyclins, 1 CDK regulatory subunit, and 1 kinase-associated phosphatase, are identified. Identification of putative mitogen-activated protein (MAP) Kinase and MAP Kinase Kinase of P. falciparum suggests a new paradigm in the highly conserved signaling pathway of eukaryotes. The calcium-dependent kinase family, well represented in P. falciparum, shows varying domain combinations with EF-hands and pleckstrin homology domains. The analysis reveals a new subfamily of protein kinases having limited sequence similarity with previously known subfamilies. A new transmembrane kinase with 6 membrane-spanning regions is identified. Putative apicoplast targeting sequences have been detected in some of these protein kinases, suggesting their export to the apicoplast. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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