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J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 25;278(17):14841-9. Epub 2003 Feb 18.

Compensatory phosphorylation and protein-protein interactions revealed by loss of function and gain of function mutants of multiple serine phosphorylation sites in endothelial nitric-oxide synthase.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Vascular Cell Signaling and Therapeutics Program, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06536, USA.


We examined the influence of individual serine phosphorylation sites in endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) on basal and stimulated NO release, cooperative phosphorylation, and co-association with hsp90 and Akt. Mutation of the serine phosphorylation sites 116, 617, and 1179 to alanines affected the phospho-state of at least one other site, demonstrating cooperation between multiple phosphorylation events, whereas mutation of serine 635 to alanine did not cause compensation. Mutation of serines 116 and 617 to alanine promoted a greater protein-protein interaction with hsp90 and Akt and greater phosphorylation on serine 1179, the major site for Akt phosphorylation. More importantly, using alanine substitutions, Ser-116 is important for agonist, but not basal NO release, Ser-635 is important for basal, but not stimulated, Ser-617 negatively regulates basal and stimulated NO release, and Ser-1179 phosphorylation is stimulatory for both basal and agonist-mediated NO release. Using putative "gain of function" mutants (serine to aspartate) serines 635 and 1179 are important positive regulators of basal and stimulated NO release. S635D eNOS is the most efficacious, yielding 5-fold increases in basal and 2-fold increases in stimulated NO release from cells. However, S617A and S617D eNOS both increased NO release with opposite actions in NOS activity assays. Thus, multiple serine phosphorylation events regulate basal and stimulate NO release with Ser-635 and Ser-1179 being important positive regulatory sites and Ser-116 as a negative regulatory. Ser-617 may not be important for directly regulating NO release but is important as a modulator of phosphorylation at other sites and protein-protein interactions.

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