Salt-induced subcellular kinase relocation and seedling susceptibility caused by overexpression of Medicago SIMKK in Arabidopsis

Miroslav Ovečka, Tomáš Takáč, George Komis, Pavol Vadovič, Slávka Bekešová, Anna Doskočilová, Veronika Smékalová, Ivan Luptovčiak, Olga Šamajová, Alois Schweighofer, Irute Meskiene, Claudia Jonak, Pavel Kenek, Irene Lichtscheidl, Udovít Škultéty, Heribert Hirt, Jozef Šamaj*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Dual-specificity mitogen-activated protein kinases kinases (MAPKKs) are the immediate upstream activators of MAPKs. They simultaneously phosphorylate the TXY motif within the activation loop of MAPKs, allowing them to interact with and regulate multiple substrates. Often, the activation of MAPKs triggers their nuclear translocation. However, the spatiotemporal dynamics and the physiological consequences of the activation of MAPKs, particularly in plants, are still poorly understood. Here, we studied the activation and localization of the Medicago sativa stress-induced MAPKK (SIMKK)-SIMK module after salt stress. In the inactive state, SIMKK and SIMK co-localized in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. Upon salt stress, however, a substantial part of the nuclear pool of both SIMKK and SIMK relocated to cytoplasmic compartments. The course of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of SIMK correlated temporally with the dual phosphorylation of the pTEpY motif. SIMKK function was further studied in Arabidopsis plants overexpressing SIMKK-yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fusions. SIMKK-YFP plants showed enhanced activation of Arabidopsis MPK3 and MPK6 kinases upon salt treatment and exhibited high sensitivity against salt stress at the seedling stage, although they were salt insensitive during seed germination. Proteomic analysis of SIMKK-YFP overexpressors indicated the differential regulation of proteins directly or indirectly involved in salt stress responses. These proteins included catalase, peroxiredoxin, glutathione S-transferase, nucleoside diphosphate kinase 1, endoplasmic reticulum luminal-binding protein 2, and finally plasma membrane aquaporins. In conclusion, Arabidopsis seedlings overexpressing SIMKK-YFP exhibited higher salt sensitivity consistent with their proteome composition and with the presumptive MPK3/MPK6 hijacking of the salt response pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2335-2350
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (GAČR) (grant P501/11/1764), grant ED0007/01/01 to the Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Faculty of Science, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic, and by POSTUP II at Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic (grant CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0041 to PV). We thank Claudia Heym and Andrei Belokurov for excellent technical assistance and Dr Jian Xu (Department of Biological Science, National University of Singapore) for providing the Arabidopsis H2B–YFP line.


  • Arabidopsis
  • MAPK
  • Medicago
  • SIMK
  • proteomics
  • salt stress
  • subcellular relocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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