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J Biol Chem. 1992 Aug 15;267(23):16660-8.

Insulin receptor kinase domain autophosphorylation regulates receptor enzymatic function.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


We have studied a series of insulin receptor molecules in which the 3 tyrosine residues which undergo autophosphorylation in the kinase domain of the beta-subunit (Tyr1158, Tyr1162, and Tyr1163) were replaced individually, in pairs, or all together with phenylalanine or serine by in vitro mutagenesis. A single-Phe replacement at each of these three positions reduced insulin-stimulated autophosphorylation of solubilized receptor by 45-60% of that observed with wild-type receptor. The double-Phe replacements showed a 60-70% reduction, and substitution of all 3 tyrosine residues with Phe or Ser reduced insulin-stimulated tyrosine autophosphorylation by greater than 80%. Phosphopeptide mapping each mutant revealed that all remaining tyrosine autophosphorylation sites were phosphorylated normally following insulin stimulation, and no new sites appeared. The single-Phe mutants showed insulin-stimulated kinase activity toward a synthetic peptide substrate of 50-75% when compared with wild-type receptor kinase activity. Insulin-stimulated kinase activity was further reduced in the double-Phe mutants and barely detectable in the triple-Phe mutants. In contrast to the wild-type receptor, all of the mutant receptor kinases showed a significant reduction in activation following in vitro insulin-stimulated autophosphorylation. When studied in intact Chinese hamster ovary cells, insulin-stimulated receptor autophosphorylation and tyrosine phosphorylation of the cellular substrate pp185 in the single-Phe and double-Phe mutants was progressively lower with increased tyrosine replacement and did not exceed the basal levels in the triple-Phe mutants. However, all the mutant receptors, including the triple-Phe mutant, retained the ability to undergo insulin-stimulated Ser and Thr phosphorylation. Thus, full activation of the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase is dependent on insulin-stimulated Tris phosphorylation of the kinase domain, and the level of autophosphorylation in the kinase domain provides a mechanism for modulating insulin receptor kinase activity following insulin stimulation. By contrast, insulin stimulation of receptor phosphorylation on Ser and Thr residues by cellular serine/threonine kinases can occur despite markedly reduced tyrosine autophosphorylation.

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