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J Biol Chem. 2001 Oct 5;276(40):37223-9. Epub 2001 Aug 2.

Site specificity of four pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase isoenzymes toward the three phosphorylation sites of human pyruvate dehydrogenase.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


Activity of the mammalian pyruvate dehydrogenase complex is regulated by phosphorylation-dephosphorylation of three specific serine residues (site 1, Ser-264; site 2, Ser-271; site 3, Ser-203) of the alpha subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (E1) component. Phosphorylation is carried out by four pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK) isoenzymes. Specificity of the four mammalian PDKs toward the three phosphorylation sites of E1 was investigated using the recombinant E1 mutant proteins with only one functional phosphorylation site present. All four PDKs phosphorylated site 1 and site 2, however, with different rates in phosphate buffer (for site 1, PDK2 > PDK4 approximately PDK1 > PDK3; for site 2, PDK3 > PDK4 > PDK2 > PDK1). Site 3 was phosphorylated by PDK1 only. The maximum activation by dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase was demonstrated by PDK3. In the free form, all PDKs phosphorylated site 1, and PDK4 had the highest activity toward site 2. The activity of the four PDKs was stimulated to a different extent by the reduction and acetylation state of the lipoyl moieties of dihydrolipoamide acetyltransferase with the maximum stimulation of PDK2. Substitution of the site 1 serine with glutamate, which mimics phosphorylation-dependent inactivation of E1, did not affect phosphorylation of site 2 by four PDKs and of site 3 by PDK1. Site specificity for phosphorylation of four PDKs with unique tissue distribution could contribute to the tissue-specific regulation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex in normal and pathophysiological states.

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