KIN-29 Regulates Sensory Responses in Worms

Science's STKE  12 Feb 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 119, pp. tw62
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.119.tw62

Lanjuin and Sengupta have identified a new kinase, KIN-29, in Caenorhabditis elegans that appears to control chemosensation and sensory signaling. The sequence of KIN-29 indicated that it is distantly related to the adenosine-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and microtubule-MAP (microtubule-associated protein)-affinity-regulating kinase (MARK) families of kinases. Worms with disrupted kin-29 genes exhibited aberrant expression of several olfactory receptor genes in olfactory neurons. Consequently, these mutant worms were unable to correctly sense the concentration of nutrients in their environment and foraged for food in a manner characteristic of nutrient-deprived worms. Also, these mutant worms were extra sensitive to the dauer pheromone and formed dauers more often than their wild-type counterparts. Because the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and insulin signaling pathways are involved in dauer formation, the authors speculate that mutation of KIN-29 affects the proper signaling of sensory inputs into these pathways. KIN-29 localized to the cytoplasm in worms treated with dauer pheromone, or upon starvation, but reversibly relocalized to the nucleus under conditions of heat shock, indicating that KIN-29 can relocalize to different compartments under differing conditions. Thus, KIN-29 appears to participate in responses to incoming sensory signals in the worm.

A. Lanjuin, P. Sengupta, Regulation of chemosensory receptor expression and sensory signaling by the KIN-29 Ser/Thr kinase. Neuron#33, 369-381 (2002). [Online Journal]