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J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 15;280(15):15405-12. Epub 2005 Feb 3.

Leucine zipper-mediated homo-oligomerization regulates the Rho-GEF activity of AKAP-Lbc.

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  • 1Département de Pharmacologie et de Toxicologie, Faculté de Médecine, Lausanne 1005, Switzerland.


AKAP-Lbc is a novel member of the A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAPs) family, which functions as a cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA)-targeting protein as well as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for RhoA. We recently demonstrated that AKAP-Lbc Rho-GEF activity is stimulated by the alpha-subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein G(12), whereas phosphorylation of AKAP-Lbc by the anchored PKA induces the recruitment of 14-3-3, which inhibits its GEF function. In the present report, using co-immunoprecipitation approaches, we demonstrated that AKAP-Lbc can form homo-oligomers inside cells. Mutagenesis studies revealed that oligomerization is mediated by two adjacent leucine zipper motifs located in the C-terminal region of the anchoring protein. Most interestingly, disruption of oligomerization resulted in a drastic increase in the ability of AKAP-Lbc to stimulate the formation of Rho-GTP in cells under basal conditions, suggesting that oligomerization maintains AKAP-Lbc in a basal-inactive state. Based on these results and on our previous findings showing that AKAP-Lbc is inactivated through the association with 14-3-3, we investigated the hypothesis that AKAP-Lbc oligomerization might be required for the regulatory action of 14-3-3. Most interestingly, we found that mutants of AKAP-Lbc impaired in their ability to undergo oligomerization were completely resistant to the inhibitory effect of PKA and 14-3-3. This suggests that 14-3-3 can negatively regulate the Rho-GEF activity of AKAP-Lbc only when the anchoring protein is in an oligomeric state. Altogether, these findings provide a novel mechanistic explanation of how oligomerization can regulate the activity of exchange factors of the Dbl family.

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