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Biochemistry. 2012 Jan 17;51(2):586-96. doi: 10.1021/bi2014689. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Serine 77 in the PDZ domain of PICK1 is a protein kinase Cα phosphorylation site regulated by lipid membrane binding.

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  • 1Molecular Neuropharmacology Laboratory, Lundbeck Foundation Center for Biomembranes in Nanomedicine, Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.


PICK1 (protein interacting with C kinase 1) contains an N-terminal protein binding PDZ domain and a C-terminal lipid binding BAR domain. PICK1 plays a key role in several physiological processes, including synaptic plasticity. However, little is known about the cellular mechanisms governing the activity of PICK1 itself. Here we show that PICK1 is a substrate in vitro both for PKCα (protein kinase Cα), as previously shown, and for CaMKIIα (Ca(2+)-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIα). By mutation of predicted phosphorylation sites, we identify Ser77 in the PDZ domain as a major phosphorylation site for PKCα. Mutation of Ser77 reduced the level of PKCα-mediated phosphorylation ~50%, whereas no reduction was observed upon mutation of seven other predicted sites. Addition of lipid vesicles increased the level of phosphorylation of Ser77 10-fold, indicating that lipid binding is critical for optimal phosphorylation. Binding of PKCα to the PICK1 PDZ domain was not required for phosphorylation, but a PDZ domain peptide ligand reduced the overall level of phosphorylation ~30%. The phosphomimic S77D reduced the extent of cytosolic clustering of eYFP-PICK1 in COS7 cells and thereby conceivably its lipid binding and/or polymerization capacity. We propose that PICK1 is phosphorylated at Ser77 by PKCα preferentially when bound to membrane vesicles and that this phosphorylation in turn modulates its cellular distribution.

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