kin-18, a C. elegans protein kinase involved in feeding

Kevin S. Berman, Michele Hutchison, Leon Avery, Melanie H. Cobb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


TAO1 and TAO2 are recently described protein kinases whose initial characterization has placed them at the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase kinase (MEKK) level of stress-responsive MAPK pathways. Because their physiological roles have not been identified, we sought to study their C. elegans homolog to learn more about their functions. kin-18 encodes a previously uncharacterized protein in C. elegans whose catalytic domain shares over 60% identity with TAO1 and TAO2. We demonstrate that KIN-18 is a protein of 120 kDa whose promoter is active in the pharynx and intestine of C. elegans. To learn more about TAO/KIN-18 function, we studied how expression of constitutively active forms of TAO1 or KIN-18 would affect the physiology of intact worms. Strains of C. elegans expressing active forms of TAO1 or KIN-18 exhibit altered pharyngeal electrophysiology as measured by electropharyngeogram. These worms grow more slowly and lay fewer eggs, phenotypes that could result from reduced feeding. We have also identified a C. elegans gene that encodes a protein kinase similar to mammalian MAPK/ERK Kinase (MEK) 4 whose promoter is active in the pharynx. It is phosphorylated by TAO1 in vitro and physically interacts with TAO1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 28 2001


  • MAP kinase
  • MEK kinase
  • Stress response
  • TAO1
  • TAO2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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