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RPK1, an essential yeast protein kinase involved in the regulation of the onset of mitosis, shows homology to mammalian dual-specificity kinases


We report here the sequence of RPK1 (for Regulatory cell Proliferation Kinase), a new Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene coding for a protein with sequence similarities to serine/threonine protein kinases. The protein sequence of 764 amino acids includes an amino-terminal domain (residues 1–410), which may be involved in regulation of the kinase domain (residues 411–764). The catalytic domain of Rpkl is not closely related to other known yeast protein kinases but exhibits strong homology to a newly discovered group of mammalian kinases (PYT, TTK, esk) with serine/threonine/tyrosine kinase activity. Null alleles of RPK1 are lethal and thus this gene belongs to the small group of yeast protein kinase genes that are essential for cell growth. In addition, eliminating the expression of RPK1 gives rise to the accumulation of non-viable cells with less than a 1 N DNA content suggesting that cells proceed into mitosis without completion of DNA synthesis. Therefore, the Rpkt kinase may function in a checkpoint control which couples DNA replication to mitosis. The level of the RPK1 transcript is extremely low and constant throughout the mitotic cycle. However it is regulated during cellular differentiation, being decreased in α-factor-treated a cells and increased late in meiosis in a/α diploids. Taken together, our results suggest that Rpk1 is involved in a pathway that coordinates cell proliferation and differentiation.

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Correspondence to Robert P. Martin.

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Communicated by C. P. Hollenberg

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Poch, O., Schwob, E., de Fraipont, F. et al. RPK1, an essential yeast protein kinase involved in the regulation of the onset of mitosis, shows homology to mammalian dual-specificity kinases. Molec. Gen. Genet. 243, 641–653 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00279573

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Key words

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • RPK1 gene
  • Protein kinase
  • DNA replication
  • Initiation of mitosis