The Crithidia fasciculata CRK gene encodes a novel cdc2-related protein containing large inserts between highly conserved domains.
A gene (CRK) encoding a cdc2-related protein has been identified in the trypanosomatid Crithidia fasciculata. CRK has a high degree of sequence identity with the human cdc2 gene and contains the sixteen amino acid PSTAIR motif, characteristic of p34cdc2 protein-serine/threonine kinases, with four amino acid substitutions in the motif. In addition, two inserts of more than sixty amino acids have been found between conserved domains of this putative protein-serine/threonine kinase. CRK is a single copy gene and is expressed on a 3.8 kb mRNA. Anti-CRK antibodies detect a 53kDa protein in extracts of C.fasciculata in agreement with the size predicted from the nucleotide sequence of the cloned gene. These antibodies also recognize proteins of 48 and 60 kDa in extracts of the trypanosomatid Leishmania tarentolae. Antibodies against the human PSTAIR peptide detect the p34cdc2 protein in human nuclear extracts but fail to detect a 34 kDa protein in C.fasciculata extracts. These results suggest that novel higher molecular weight forms of the cdc2 protein family may be involved in cell cycle control in trypanosomes.