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J Biol Chem. 1994 Dec 16;269(50):31552-62.

Vps34p required for yeast vacuolar protein sorting is a multiple specificity kinase that exhibits both protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol-specific PI 3-kinase activities.

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  • 1Division of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla 92093-0668.


The Vps15 protein kinase and the Vps34 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase have been shown to function as a membrane-associated complex which facilitates the delivery of proteins to the vacuole in yeast. Biochemical characterization of the autophosphorylation reaction catalyzed by Vps15p demonstrates that it is a functional serine/threonine protein kinase. In addition, we show that the Vps34 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase undergoes an autophosphorylation event both in vivo and in vitro, indicating that it represents a novel multiple specificity kinase capable of phosphorylating both protein and lipid substrates. Vps34p is phosphorylated predominately on serine in vivo and is able to phosphorylate serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues in vitro. Mutant Vps34 proteins containing alterations in conserved amino acids in the lipid kinase domain are severely defective for both PI 3-kinase activity and autophosphorylation. Characterization of the PI 3-kinase activity of Vps34p demonstrates that it, unlike the mammalian p110 PI 3-kinase, is highly resistant to the PI 3-kinase inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002. We also find that Vps34p is a phosphatidylinositol-specific 3-kinase, as it is able to utilize phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) but not PtdIns(4)P or PtdIns(4,5)P2 as substrates in an in vitro PI kinase reaction. The substrate specificity, wortmannin resistance, and other biochemical characteristics of its PtdIns 3-kinase activity suggest that Vps34p is quite similar to a PtdIns-specific 3-kinase activity recently characterized from mammalian cells. These data indicate the existence of a family of PI 3-kinases composed of p110-like PI 3-kinases and Vps34p-like PtdIns-specific 3-kinases. On the basis of the role for Vps34p in vacuolar protein sorting, we propose that the production of a specific phosphoinositide, PtdIns(3)P, is involved in regulating intracellular protein sorting reactions in eukaryotic cells.

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