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RNA interference (RNAi) is mediated by a multicomponent RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Here we examine the phosphorylation state of three Drosophila RISC-associated proteins, VIG, R2D2 and a truncated form of Argonaute2 devoid of the nonconserved N-terminal glutamine-rich domain. We show that of the three studied proteins, only VIG is phosphorylated in cultured Drosophila cells. We also demonstrate that the phosphorylation state of VIG remains unchanged after cell transfection with exogenous dsRNA. A sequence similarity search revealed that VIG shares significant similarity with the human phosphoprotein Ki- 1/57, a known in vivo substrate for protein kinase C (PKC). In vitro kinase assays followed by tryptic phosphopeptide mapping showed that PKC could efficiently phosphorylate VIG on multiple sites, suggesting PKC as a candidate kinase for VIG phosphorylation in vivo. Taken together, our results identify the RISC component VIG as a novel kinase substrate in cultured Drosophila cells and suggest a possible involvement of PKC in its phosphorylation.
RNA interference, RNAi, RISC, Vasa Intronic Gene, VIG, Argonaute, R2D2, RNAi, Gene Silencing