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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Jun;17(6):3459-67.

Regulation of microtubule dynamics by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase IV/Gr-dependent phosphorylation of oncoprotein 18.

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  • 1Department for Cell and Molecular Biology, University of UmeĆ„, Sweden.


Oncoprotein 18 (Op18; also termed p19, 19K, p18, prosolin, and stathmin) is a regulator of microtubule (MT) dynamics and is phosphorylated by multiple kinase systems on four Ser residues. In addition to cell cycle-regulated phosphorylation, external signals induce phosphorylation of Op18 on Ser-25 by the mitogen-activated protein kinase and on Ser-16 by the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase IV/Gr (CaMK IV/Gr). Here we show that induced expression of a constitutively active mutant of CaMK IV/Gr results in phosphorylation of Op18 on Ser-16. In parallel, we also observed partial degradation of Op18 and a rapid increase of total cellular MTs. These results suggest a link between CaMK IV/Gr, Op18, and MT dynamics. To explore such a putative link, we optimized a genetic system that allowed conditional coexpression of a series of CaMK IV/Gr and Op18 derivatives. The result shows that CaMK IV/Gr can suppress the MT-regulating activity of Op18 by phosphorylation on Ser-16. In line with these results, by employing a chemical cross-linking protocol, it was shown that phosphorylation of Ser-16 is involved in weakening of the interactions between Op18 and tubulin. Taken together, these data suggest that the mechanism of CaMK IV/Gr-mediated suppression of Op18 activity involves both partial degradation of Op18 and direct modulation of the MT-destabilizing activity of this protein. These results show that Op18 phosphorylation by CaMK IV/Gr may couple alterations of MT dynamics in response to external signals that involve Ca2+.

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