To examine the in vivo functions of protein kinase N (PKN), one of the effectors of Rho small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases), we used the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a genetic model system. We identified a C. elegans homologue (pkn-1) of mammalian PKN and confirmed direct binding to C. elegans Rho small GTPases. Using a green fluorescent protein reporter, we showed that pkn-1 is mainly expressed in various muscles and is localized at dense bodies and M lines. Overexpression of the PKN-1 kinase domain and loss-of-function mutations by genomic deletion of pkn-1 resulted in a loopy Unc phenotype, which has been reported in many mutants of neuronal genes. The results of mosaic analysis and body wall muscle-specific expression of the PKN-1 kinase domain suggests that this loopy phenotype is due to the expression of PKN-1 in body wall muscle. The genomic deletion of pkn-1 also showed a defect in force transmission. These results suggest that PKN-1 functions as a regulator of muscle contraction-relaxation and as a component of the force transmission mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology