Brassinosteroids (BRs) are steroid hormones essential for plant growth and development. The BR signaling pathway has been studied in some detail, however, the functions of the BRASSINOSTEROID-SIGNALING KINASE (BSK) family proteins in the pathway have remained elusive. Through forward genetics, we identified five semi-dominant mutations in the BSK3 gene causing BSK3 loss-of-function and decreased BR responses. We therefore investigated the function of BSK3, a receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase, in BR signaling and plant growth and development. We find that BSK3 is anchored to the plasma membrane via N-myristoylation, which is required for its function in BR signaling. The N-terminal kinase domain is crucial for BSK3 function, and the C-terminal three tandem TPR motifs contribute to BSK3/BSK3 homodimer and BSK3/BSK1 heterodimer formation. Interestingly, the effects of BSK3 on BR responses are dose-dependent, depending on its protein levels. Our genetic studies indicate that kinase dead BSK3 K86R protein partially rescues the bsk3-1 mutant phenotypes. BSK3 directly interacts with the BSK family proteins (BSK3 and BSK1), BRI1 receptor kinase, BSU1 phosphatase, and BIN2 kinase. BIN2 phosphorylation of BSK3 enhances BSK3/BSK3 homodimer and BSK3/BSK1 heterodimer formation, BSK3/BRI1 interaction, and BSK3/BSU1 interaction. Furthermore, we find that BSK3 upregulates BSU1 transcript and protein levels to activate BR signaling. BSK3 is broadly expressed and plays an important role in BR-mediated root growth, shoot growth, and organ separation. Together, our findings suggest that BSK3 may function as a scaffold protein to regulate BR signaling. The results of our studies provide new insights into early BR signaling mechanisms.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2019 Ren et al.
- Amino Acid Sequence/genetics
- Arabidopsis Proteins/genetics
- Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
- Loss of Function Mutation/genetics
- Phosphoprotein Phosphatases/genetics
- Plants, Genetically Modified/genetics
- Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases/genetics
- Signal Transduction
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural