Biopolis Dresden Imaging Platform

The Caenorhabditis elegans Ste20 kinase, GCK-3, is essential for postembryonic developmental timing and regulates meiotic chromosome segregation.

Kupinski AP, Müller-Reichert T, Eckmann CR

Ste20 kinases constitute a large family of serine/threonine kinases with a plethora of biological functions. Members of the GCK-VI subfamily have been identified as important regulators of osmohomeostasis across species functioning upstream of ion channels. Although the expression of the two highly similar mammalian GCK-VI kinases is eminent in a wide variety of tissues, which includes also the testis, their potential roles in development remain elusive. Caenorhabditis elegans contains a single ancestral ortholog termed GCK-3. Here, we report a comprehensive analysis of gck-3 function and demonstrate its requirement for several developmental processes independent of ion homeostasis, i.e., larval progression, vulva, and germ line formation. Consistent with a wide range of gck-3 function we find that endogenous GCK-3 is expressed ubiquitously. The serine/threonine kinase activity of GCK-3, but not its presumed C-terminal substrate interaction domain, is essential for gck-3 gene function. Although expressed in female germ cells, we find GCK-3 progressively accumulating during spermatogenesis where it promotes the first meiotic cell division and facilitates faithful chromosome segregation. In particular, we find that different levels of gck-3 activity appear to be important for various aspects of germ line development. Taken together, our findings suggest that members of the GCK-VI kinase subfamily may act as key regulators of many developmental processes and that this newly described role in meiotic progression might be conserved and an important part of sexual reproduction.

Fig.2 taken from Kupinski et al, 2010.
  • Dev. Biol. 2010 Aug 15;344(2):758-71
  • 2010
  • Developmental Biology
  • 20595048
  • PubMed
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