Identification and Characterization of Novel Plant Adenylate Cyclases – The Arabidopsis Thaliana Potassium Uptake Permeases

  • Inas Al-Younis

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Adenylyl Cyclases (ACs) catalyze the formation of the key universal second messenger adenosine 3’, 5’-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) from adenosine 5’- triphosphate. Cyclic AMP participates in several signal transduction pathways and is present in bacteria and higher and lower eukaryotes including higher plants. Previous studies in plants have shown a role for cAMP in signal transduction during e.g. the cell cycle, elongation of the pollen tube and stimulation of protein kinase activity. More recently cAMP has been shown to play a role in stress responses. Interestingly, cAMP has also been shown to regulate ion transport in plant cells. Here we used a similar strategy that led to the discovery of the first guanylyl cyclase in plants that was based on the alignment of conserved and functionally assigned amino acids in the catalytic centre of annotated nucleotide cyclases from lower and higher eukaryotes, to identify a novel candidate ACs in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana K+ Uptake 5 and 7). ATKUP5 and 7 are homologous to K+ uptake permeases (KUPs) from bacteria and high-affinity K+ transporters (HAKs) from fungi. The AC activity was investigated by recombinantly expressing the ATKUP5 and 7 AC domain in vitro and by complementation of an E. coli AC mutant (cyaA). Furthermore, ATKUP5 was tested for its ability to functionally complement a yeast mutant deficient in Trk1 and Trk2 high affinity potassium uptake transporters. Site-mutagenesis in the AC domain was used to test the effect of both functions in each other. Furthermore, ATKUP5 was characterized electrophysiologically in HEK-293 cells to characterize the nature of this transporter. The localization of the ATKUP5 in Arabidopsis was examined using a Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) fusion with the ATKUP5 to determine whether ATKUP5 is expressed at the plasma or tonoplast membrane. Arabiodpsis thaliana of the wild type, overexpressing ATKUP5 and atkup5 mutant lines were used to examine phenotypic differences.
Date of AwardMay 2018
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorMark Tester (Supervisor)


  • Adenylyl Cyclase
  • Arabidopsis Thaliana
  • ATKUP5
  • potassium transporter
  • signal transduction
  • cAMP

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