An auxin-inducible protein kinase, VrCRK1, was isolated by a differential reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, using mRNAs extracted from auxin-treated mungbean hypocotyls. VrCRK1 exhibits high homology with plant CDPKs over catalytic domains, however, it does not have any calcium-binding EF-hand which is typically shown in plant CDPKs. Auxin treatment increased the expression level of VrCRK1. However, the increased level was reduced to basal level by treatment with PCIB, an auxin inhibitor. When extracts of mungbean hypocotyls were immunoprecipitated and the resultant immunoprecipitates were used as the enzyme source, kinase activity of VrCRK1 was found, and such activity was also increased by auxin treatment. In transgenic tobacco plants that express VrCRK1, the transcript levels of some auxin-dependent genes were elevated as much as those in wild type plants treated with auxin. These results indicate that gene expression of VrCRK1 is specifically induced by auxin, and that VrCRK1 may play a role in auxin signaling via protein phosphorylation.
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