Members of the casein kinase 1 (CK1) family are evolutionarily conserved eukaryotic protein kinases that are involved in various cellular, physiological, and developmental processes in yeast and metazoans, but the biological roles of CK1 members in plants are not well understood. Here, we report that an Arabidopsis ( Arabidopsis thaliana ) CK1 member named casein kinase 1-like 6 (CKL6) associates with cortical microtubules in vivo and phosphorylates tubulins in vitro. The unique C-terminal domain of CKL6 was shown to contain the signal that allows localization of CKL6 to the cortical microtubules. This domain on its own was sufficient to associate with microtubules in vivo and to bind tubulins in vitro. CKL6 was able to phosphorylate soluble tubulins as well as microtubule polymers, and its endogenous activity was found to associate with a tubulin-enriched subcellular fraction. Two major in vitro phosphorylation sites were mapped to serine-413 and serine-420 of tubulin β . Ectopic expression of wild-type CKL6 or a kinase-inactive mutant form induced alterations in cortical microtubule organization and anisotropic cell expansion. Collectively, these results demonstrate that CKL6 is a protein kinase containing a novel tubulin-binding domain and plays a role in anisotropic cell growth and shape formation in Arabidopsis through the regulation of microtubule organization, possibly through the phosphorylation of tubulins.
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