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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jan 19;276(3):1961-7. Epub 2000 Oct 26.

The kinase activation loop is the key to mixed lineage kinase-3 activation via both autophosphorylation and hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 phosphorylation.

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  • 1Department of Medical Biophysics, The Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1A8 Canada. wing.leun@utoronto.ca

Abstract

We have demonstrated previously that Cdc42 induced MLK-3 homodimerization leads to both autophosphorylation and activation of MLK-3 and postulated that autophosphorylation is an intermediate step of MLK-3 activation following its dimerization. In this report we sought to refine further the mechanism of MLK-3 activation and study the role of the putative kinase activation loop in MLK-3 activation. First we mutated the three potential phosphorylation sites in MLK-3 putative activation loop to alanine in an effort to abrogate MLK-3 autophosphorylation. Mutant T277A displayed almost no autophosphorylation activity and was nearly nonfunctional; mutant S281A, that displayed a low level of autophosphorylation, only slightly activated its downstream targets, whereas the T278A mutant, that exhibited autophosphorylation comparable to that of the wild type, was almost fully functional. Thus, these residues within the activation loop are critical for MLK-3 autophosphorylation and activation. In addition, when the Thr277 and Ser281 residues were mutated to negatively charged glutamic acid to mimic phosphorylated serine/threonine residues, the resulting mutants were fully functional, implying that these two residues may serve as the autophosphorylation sites. Interestingly, HPK1 also phosphorylated MLK-3 activation loop in vitro, and Ser281 was found to be the major phosphorylation site, indicating that HPK1 also activates MLK-3 via phosphorylation of the kinase activation loop.

PMID:
11053428
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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