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J Neurochem. 2001 Feb;76(3):711-20.

Cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and protein kinase C phosphorylate sites in the amino acid sequence corresponding to the M3/M4 cytoplasmic domain of alpha4 neuronal nicotinic receptor subunits.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa, Florida, USA.


To determine whether alpha4 subunits of alpha4beta2 neuronal nicotinic receptors are phosphorylated within the M3/M4 intracellular region by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) or protein kinase C (PKC), immunoprecipitated receptors from Xenopus oocytes and a fusion protein corresponding to the M3/M4 cytoplasmic domain of alpha4 (alpha4(336-597)) were incubated with ATP and either PKA or PKC. Both alpha4 and alpha4(336-597) were phosphorylated by PKA and PKC, providing the first direct biochemical evidence that the M3/M4 cytoplasmic domain of neuronal nicotinic receptor alpha4 subunits is phosphorylated by both kinases. When the immunoprecipitated receptors and the alpha4(336-597) fusion protein were phosphorylated and the labeled proteins subjected to phosphoamino acid analysis, results indicated that alpha4 and alpha4(336-597) were phosphorylated on the same amino acid residues by each kinase. Furthermore, PKA phosphorylated serines exclusively, whereas PKC phosphorylated both serines and threonines. To determine whether Ser(368) was a substrate for both kinases, a peptide corresponding to amino acids 356-371 was synthesized (alpha4(356-371)) and incubated with ATP and the kinases. The phosphorylation of alpha4(356-371) by both PKA and PKC was saturable with K(m)s of 15.3 +/- 3.3 microM and 160.8 +/- 26.8 microM, respectively, suggesting that Ser(368) was a better substrate for PKA than PKC.

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