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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 16;276(11):8475-83. Epub 2000 Dec 7.

Identification of a phosphorylation site in the hinge region of the human progesterone receptor and additional amino-terminal phosphorylation sites.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Protein Chemistry Core Laboratory, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


We have previously reported the identification of seven in vivo phosphorylation sites in the amino-terminal region of the human progesterone receptor (PR). From our previous in vivo studies, it was evident that several phosphopeptides remained unidentified. In particular, we wished to determine whether human PR contains a phosphorylation site in the hinge region, as do other steroid receptors including chicken PR, human androgen receptor, and mouse estrogen receptor. Previously, problematic trypsin cleavage sites hampered our ability to detect phosphorylation sites in large incomplete tryptic peptides. Using a combination of mass spectrometry and in vitro phosphorylation, we have identified six previously unidentified phosphorylation sites in human PR. Using nanoelectrospray ionization mass spectrometry, we have identified two new in vivo phosphorylation sites, Ser(20) and Ser(676), in baculovirus-expressed human PR. Ser(676) is analogous to the hinge site identified in other steroid receptors. Additionally, precursor ion scans identified another phosphopeptide that contains Ser(130)-Pro(131), a likely candidate for phosphorylation. In vitro phosphorylation of PR with Cdk2 has revealed five additional in vitro Cdk2 phosphorylation sites: Ser(25), Ser(213), Thr(430), Ser(554), and Ser(676). At least two of these, Ser(213) and Ser(676), are authentic in vivo sites. We confirmed the presence of the Cdk2-phosphorylated peptide containing Ser(213) in PR from in vivo labeled T47D cells, indicating that this is an in vivo site. Our combined studies indicate that most, if not all, of the Ser-Pro motifs in human PR are sites for phosphorylation. Taken together, these data indicate that the phosphorylation of PR is highly complex, with at least 14 phosphorylation sites.

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