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Novel CK2α and CK2β subunits in maize reveal functional diversification in subcellular localization and interaction capacity

Vélez-Bermúdez, I.C., Carretero-Paulet, L., Legnaioli, T., Ludevid, D., Pagès, M., Riera, M.
Plant science 2015 v.235 pp. 58-69
Zea mays, chloroplasts, corn, genes, peptides, phylogeny
In plants, CK2α/β subunits are encoded by multigenic families. They assemble as heterotetrameric holoenzymes or remain as individual subunits and are usually located in distinct cell compartments. Here we revise the number of maize CK2α/β genes, bringing them up to a total of eight (four CK2α catalytic and four CK2β regulatory subunits). We characterize CK2β4, which presents nuclear localization and interacts with CK2α1, CK2α3, CK2β1, and CK2β3. We also describe two CK2α isoforms (CK2α2 and CK2α4) containing N-terminal extensions that correspond to putative cTPs (chloroplast transit peptides). These cTPs are functional and responsible for the subcellular localization of CK2α2 and CK2α4 in chloroplasts. Phylogenetic analysis of the CK2α gene family, further supported by the gene structure and architecture of conserved protein domains, reveals the evolutionary expansion and diversification of this family. The subcellular localization of all four CK2α isoforms was found to be altered when were co-expressed with CK2β, thereby pointing to the latter as regulators of CK2α localization.