NDR kinases are important for growth and differentiation and require interaction with MOB proteins for activity and function. We characterized the NDR kinases and MOB activators in Neurospora crassa and identified two NDR kinases (COT1 and DBF2) and four MOB proteins (MOB1, MOB2A, MOB2B and MOB3/phocein) that form two functional NDR-MOB protein complexes. The MOB1-DBF2 complex is not only essential for septum formation in vegetative cells and during conidiation, but also functions during sexual fruiting body development and ascosporogenesis. The two MOB2-type proteins interact with both COT1 isoforms and control polar tip extension and branching by regulating COT1 activity. The conserved region directly preceding the kinase domain of COT1 is sufficient for the formation of COT1-MOB2 heterodimers, but also for kinase homodimerization. An additional N-terminal extension that is poorly conserved, but present in most fungal NDR kinases, is required for further stabilization of both types of interactions and for stimulating COT1 activity. COT1 lacking this region is degraded in a mob-2 background. We propose a specific role of MOB3/phocein during vegetative cell fusion, fruiting body development and ascosporogenesis that is unrelated to the three other MOB proteins and NDR kinase signalling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology