Evolution and Functions of Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinases in the Plant Lineage

April 22, 2022

Jacqueline Monaghan
Assistant Professor of Biology Queen's University & Tier II Canada Research Chair in Plant Immunology

Mechanisms to sense and respond to calcium have evolved in all organisms. Calmodulin is a universal calcium sensor across eukaryotes that directly binds calcium and associates with many downstream signal transducers including protein kinases. All eukaryotes encode calcium-dependent and/or calmodulin-dependent kinases, however there are distinct protein families across kingdoms. Here, I will discuss the evolution and functions of Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinases (CDPKs) throughout the plant lineage, paying special attention to the immune regulator CPK28. Unique to plants and some protists, CDPKs are a fascinating group of proteins that contain both a calmodulin-like domain and a protein kinase domain in a single protein. I will compare their activation mechanism to other calcium-dependent and/or calmodulin-dependent kinases including CaMKs and CCaMKs.


I am an Assistant Professor of Biology at Queen’s University and a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Plant Immunology. My research group focuses on immune signal transduction and fine-tuning mechanisms with a particular interest in calcium-dependent protein kinases. I am a Reviewing Editor in Plant Biology at eLife, a Handling Editor at the Journal of Experimental Botany, and a member of both the Communications Committee and the Equity/Diversity/Inclusion Committee for the Canadian Society for Plant Biology.

photo of Jacqueline Monaghan