Pneumocystis carinii BCK1 functions in a mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade regulating fungal cell-wall assembly

Charles F. Thomas, Pawan K. Vohra, John G. Park, Veenu Puri, Andrew Harold Limper, Theodore J. Kottom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pneumocystis pneumonia remains the most common AIDS-defining opportunistic infection in people with HIV. The process by which Pneumocystis carinii constructs its cell wall is not well known, although recent studies reveal that molecules such as β-1-3-glucan synthetase (GSC1) and environmental pH-responsive genes such as PHR1 are important for cell-wall integrity. In closely related fungi, a specific mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade regulates cell-wall assembly in response to elevated temperature. The upstream mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK, or MEKK), BCK1, is an essential component in this pathway for maintaining cell-wall integrity and preventing fungal cell lysis. We have identified a P. carinii MEKK gene and have expressed it in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to gain insights into its function. The P. carinii MEKK, PCBCK1, corrects the temperature-sensitive cell lysis defect of bck1Δ yeast. Further, at elevated temperature PCBCK1 restored the signaling defect in bck1Δ yeast to maintain expression of the temperature-inducible β-1-3-glucan synthetase gene, FKS2. PCBCK1, as a functional kinase, is capable of autophosphorylation and substrate phosphorylation. Since glucan machinery is not present in mammals, a better understanding of this pathway in P. carinii might aid in the development of novel medications which interfere with the integrity of the Pneumocystis cell wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Letters
Volume548
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 31 2003

Fingerprint

MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
Pneumocystis carinii
Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
Cell Wall
Glucans
Yeast
Temperature
Genes
Ligases
Yeasts
Pneumocystis
Cells
Defects
Phosphorylation
Pneumocystis Pneumonia
Mammals
Opportunistic Infections
Fungi
Machinery
Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Keywords

  • AIDS
  • Glucan
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Pneumocystis carinii BCK1 functions in a mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade regulating fungal cell-wall assembly. / Thomas, Charles F.; Vohra, Pawan K.; Park, John G.; Puri, Veenu; Limper, Andrew Harold; Kottom, Theodore J.

In: FEBS Letters, Vol. 548, No. 1-3, 31.07.2003, p. 59-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thomas, Charles F. ; Vohra, Pawan K. ; Park, John G. ; Puri, Veenu ; Limper, Andrew Harold ; Kottom, Theodore J. / Pneumocystis carinii BCK1 functions in a mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade regulating fungal cell-wall assembly. In: FEBS Letters. 2003 ; Vol. 548, No. 1-3. pp. 59-68.
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