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EMBO J. 2001 Aug 15;20(16):4380-90.

The PIF-binding pocket in PDK1 is essential for activation of S6K and SGK, but not PKB.

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Division of Signal Transduction Therapy, MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit, School of Life Sciences, MSI/WTB complex, University of Dundee, Dow Street, Dundee DD1 5EH, UK.


PKB/Akt, S6K1 and SGK are related protein kinases activated in a PI 3-kinase-dependent manner in response to insulin/growth factors signalling. Activation entails phosphorylation of these kinases at two residues, the T-loop and the hydrophobic motif. PDK1 activates S6K, SGK and PKB isoforms by phosphorylating these kinases at their T-loop. We demonstrate that a pocket in the kinase domain of PDK1, termed the 'PIF-binding pocket', plays a key role in mediating the interaction and phosphorylation of S6K1 and SGK1 at their T-loop motif by PDK1. Our data indicate that prior phosphorylation of S6K1 and SGK1 at their hydrophobic motif promotes their interaction with the PIF-binding pocket of PDK1 and their T-loop phosphorylation. Thus, the hydrophobic motif phosphorylation of S6K and SGK converts them into substrates that can be activated by PDK1. In contrast, the PIF-binding pocket of PDK1 is not required for the phosphorylation of PKBalpha by PDK1. The PIF-binding pocket represents a substrate recognition site on a protein kinase that is only required for the phosphorylation of a subset of its physiological substrates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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