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Biochem J. Jul 15, 2000; 349(Pt 2): 547–557.
PMCID: PMC1221178

Regulation of BAD by cAMP-dependent protein kinase is mediated via phosphorylation of a novel site, Ser155.


The interaction of BAD (Bcl-2/Bcl-X(L)-antagonist, causing cell death) with Bcl-2/Bcl-X(L) is thought to neutralize the anti-apoptotic effects of the latter proteins, and may represent one of the mechanisms by which BAD promotes apoptosis. A variety of survival signals are reported to induce the phosphorylation of BAD at Ser(112) or Ser(136), triggering its dissociation from Bcl-2/Bcl-X(L). Ser(136) is thought to be phosphorylated by protein kinase B (PKB, also called Akt), which is activated when cells are exposed to agonists that stimulate phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). In contrast, Ser(112) is reported to be phosphorylated by mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-activated protein kinase-1 (MAPKAP-K1, also called RSK) and by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Here we identify Ser(155) as a third phosphorylation site on BAD. We find that Ser(155) is phosphorylated preferentially by PKA in vitro and is the only residue in BAD that becomes phosphorylated when cells are exposed to cAMP-elevating agents. The phosphorylation of BAD at Ser(155) prevents it from binding to Bcl-X(L) and promotes its interaction with 14-3-3 proteins. We also provide further evidence that MAPKAP-K1 mediates the phosphorylation of Ser(112) in response to agonists that activate the classical MAP kinase pathway. However insulin-like growth factor 1, a potent activator of PI3K and PKB does not increase the phosphorylation of Ser(136) in BAD-transfected HEK-293 cells, and nor is the basal level of Ser(136) phosphorylation suppressed by inhibitors of PI3K.

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