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FEBS Lett. 2002 Jan 2;510(1-2):31-6.

Differing substrate specificities of members of the DYRK family of arginine-directed protein kinases.

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Division of Molecular Physiology, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dow Street, Dundee DD1 5EH, UK.


The mammalian DYRK (dual specificity tyrosine phosphorylated and regulated kinase) family of protein kinases comprises a number of related, but poorly understood enzymes. DYRK1A is nuclear while DYRKs 2 and 3 are cytoplasmic. We recently showed that DYRK2 phosphorylates the translation initiation factor eIF2B at Ser539 in its epsilon-subunit and thereby "primes" its phosphorylation by glycogen synthase kinase-3. Here we have used peptides based on the sequence around Ser539 to help define the specificity of DYRK2/3 in comparison with DYRK1A. These kinases require an arginine N-terminal to the target residue for efficient substrate phosphorylation. This cannot be replaced even by lysine. A peptide with arginine at -2 is phosphorylated much less well by all three kinases than one with arginine at -3. Replacement of the +1 proline by alanine almost completely eliminates substrate phosphorylation, but valine here does allow phosphorylation especially by DYRK2. This study reveals both similarities and differences in the specificities of these arginine-dependent protein kinases.

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