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Curr Biol. 2000 Sep 21;10(18):1151-4.

Phosphorylation of the pro-apoptotic protein BAD on serine 155, a novel site, contributes to cell survival.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, CB2 1QW, Cambridge, UK.


Phosphorylation of BAD, a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 protein family, on either Ser112 or Ser136 is thought to be necessary and sufficient for growth factors to promote cell survival. Here we report that Ser155, a site phosphorylated by protein kinase A (PKA), also contributes to cell survival. Ser112 is thought to be the critical PKA target, but we found that BAD fusion proteins containing Ala at Ser112 (S112A) or Ser136 (S136A) or at both positions (S112/136A) were still heavily phosphorylated by PKA in an in vitro kinase assay. BAD became insensitive to phosphorylation by PKA only when both Ser112 and Ser136, or all three serines (S112/136/155) were mutated to alanine. In HEK293 cells, BAD fusion proteins mutated at Ser155 were refractory to phosphorylation induced by elevation of cyclic AMP(cAMP) levels. Phosphorylation of the S112/136A mutant was >90% inhibited by H89, a PKA inhibitor. The S155A mutant induced more apoptosis than the wild-type protein in serum-maintained CHO-K1 cells, and apoptosis induced by the S112/136A mutant was potentiated by serum withdrawal. These data suggest that Ser155 is a major site of phosphorylation by PKA and serum-induced kinases. Like Ser112 and Ser136, phosphorylation of Ser155 contributes to the cancellation of the pro-apoptotic function of BAD.

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