Molecular cloning and characterization of PKC theta, a novel member of the protein kinase C (PKC) gene family expressed predominantly in hematopoietic cells

G. Baier, D. Telford, L. Giampa, K. M. Coggeshall, G. Baier-Bitterlich, N. Isakov, A. Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

282 Scopus citations


Members of the protein kinase C (PKC) family of serine/threonine kinases play a key role in regulating the differentiation and growth of diverse cell types and, to date, the cloning of seven mammalian PKC genes encoding eight distinct isoforms has been reported. Here we describe the molecular cloning and deduced primary structure of a cDNA encoding a novel PKC isoform, termed PKCθ, which was isolated in the course of attempts to identify PKC genes that are expressed selectively in hematopoietic cells. Degenerate oligonucleotide primers corresponding to conserved sequence motifs, which distinguish the PKC family from other protein kinases, were employed in polymerase chain reactions (PCR) to amplify partial core sequences of putative PKC genes from a human peripheral blood lymphocyte-derived cDNA library. DNA sequencing of selected clones revealed several PKC-related sequences, including one that, on the basis of sequence comparison with known PKC isoforms, represented a novel PKC isoform. The complete cDNA sequence was determined by anchored PCR cloning and sequencing the entire coding sequence, using cDNA derived from a human leukemic T cell line (Jurkat). Included within this ~2.7-kilobase pair cDNA is an open reading frame of 2,118 nucleotides encoding a putative 82-kDa protein. The deduced primary structure contains consensus sequences characteristic of protein kinase catalytic domains and, based on its amino acid sequence and domain structure, is a member of the PKC family. PKCθ displays the highest homology to PKCδ, lacks the Ca2+-binding C2 domain and, thus, belongs to the subfamily of Ca2+- independent PKC enzymes which also includes the δ, ε, ζ, and η isoforms. RNase protection assays and semiquantitative PCR analysis indicated that, although PKCθ transcripts are expressed ubiquitously, the highest levels are found in hematopoietic tissues and cell lines, including T cells and thymocytes. In contrast, the expression levels in the brain and testes are considerably lower, and no transcripts were detected in several human carcinoma cell lines. A rabbit antiserum raised against a unique (V3 domain) bacterially expressed PKCθ fragment immunoprecipitated specifically an 82- kDa protein from Jurkat cell lysates. Thus, PKCθ represents an additional member of the PKC family, and its predominant expression in hematopoietic cells suggests that it may play a role in signal transduction and growth regulatory pathways unique to these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4997-5004
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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