Chlamydophila pneumoniae PknD Exhibits Dual Amino Acid Specificity and Phosphorylates Cpn0712, a Putative Type III Secretion YscD Homolog
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Chlamydophila pneumoniae is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes bronchitis, pharyngitis, and pneumonia and may be involved in atherogenesis and Alzheimer's disease. Genome sequencing has identified three eukaryote-type serine/threonine protein kinases, Pkn1, Pkn5, and PknD, that may be important signaling molecules in Chlamydia. Full-length PknD was cloned and expressed as a histidine-tagged protein in Escherichia coli. Differential centrifugation followed by sodium carbonate treatment of E. coli membranes demonstrated that His-PknD is an integral membrane protein. Fusions of overlapping PknD fragments to alkaline phosphatase revealed that PknD contains a single transmembrane domain and that the kinase domain is in the cytoplasm. To facilitate solubility, the kinase domain was cloned and expressed as a glutathione S-transferase (GST) fusion protein in E. coli. Purified GST-PknD kinase domain autophosphorylated, and catalytic mutants (K33G, D156G, and K33G-D156G mutants) and activation loop mutants (T185A and T193A) were inactive. PknD phosphorylated recombinant Cpn0712, a type III secretion YscD homolog that has two forkhead-associated domains. Thin-layer chromatography revealed that the PknD kinase domain autophosphorylated on threonine and tyrosine and phosphorylated the FHA-2 domain of Cpn0712 on serine and tyrosine. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a bacterial protein kinase with amino acid specificity for both serine/threonine and tyrosine residues and this is the first study to show phosphorylation of a predicted type III secretion structural protein.
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