Intergenic complementation truncation mutants of cyclin-dependent kinase.

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The Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes PHO80 and PHO85 encode, respectively, a cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinase, which negatively regulate PHO5 gene transcription by phosphorylating the transcription activator Pho4p. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are highly conserved proteins, both within and between species. It was previously demonstrated, using reporter genes activated in yeast by Pho4p, that hybrid proteins in which over two-thirds of Pho85p were replaced with the homologous region from human Cdk2 retained the function of native Pho85p with respect to promoter repression. In the present study, various truncated forms of the hybrid human-yeast CDKs were tested for function. Surprisingly, truncations in which significant portions of the C-terminal region of the 291-residue hybrid CDK were deleted retained activity. Genes encoding human Cdk2 proteins which terminated after amino acids 151, 140, 130, 120 and 90 each complement a chromosomal pho85 gene disruption in which the HIS3 gene is inserted at codon 49. Truncated Cdk2 proteins containing less than 60 amino acids failed to complement the pho85::HIS3 gene disruption. Although the functional C-terminal truncations disrupt the ATP-binding and active sites of Cdk2, reporter gene repression mediated by these truncated proteins is apparently due to phosphorylation of Pho4p, since a gene in which the essential lysine codon at position 33 was converted to an arginine codon does not complement the chromosomal gene disruption. The human Cdk2 truncations were demonstrated to function through intergenic complementation. The intact Cdk2-Pho85 hybrid CDK complemented the pho85 mutation in yeast strains in which the entirePHO85 coding region was deleted from chromosome XVI. The C-terminal Cdk2 truncations, however, were non-functional in these strains and thus dependent for activity on the pho85 coding region which remained in the mutant pho85::HIS3 chromosomal locus. These genetic results are consistent with a model involving protein fragment complementation in which the active site of the CDK is bisected.