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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Dec;46(5):1353-66.

Activation of 6-phosphofructokinase via phosphorylation by Pkn4, a protein Ser/Thr kinase of Myxococcus xanthus.

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Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


Myxococcus xanthus is a Gram-negative bacterium that exhibits a communal lifestyle during vegetative growth and multicellular development, forming fruiting bodies filled with spores. It contains at least 13 eukaryotic-like protein Ser/Thr kinases (PSTKs from Pkn1 to Pkn13). In the present report, we demonstrate that Pkn4, the gene located 18 bp downstream of the gene for 6-phosphofructokinase (PFK), is a PSTK for M. xanthus PFK (Mx-PFK), the key regulatory enzyme in glycolysis. Both Pkn4 and Mx-PFK were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Mx-PFK was found to be phosphorylated by Pkn4 at Thr-226, which is presumed to be located in the allosteric effector site of the PFK. The phosphorylation of Mx-PFK enhanced its activity 2.7-fold, indicating that Pkn4 plays an important role in glucose metabolism. Although PFKs from other organisms are known to be tetrameric enzymes, Mx-PFK is composed of an octamer and is dissociated to tetramers in the presence of phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP), an allosteric inhibitor for PFK. Furthermore, phosphorylation of PFK by Pkn4 is almost completely inhibited by PEP. Mx-PFK is associated with the regulatory domain of Pkn4, and this association is inhibited by PEP. This is the first demonstration that a prokaryotic PFK is regulated by phosphorylation by PSTK in prokaryotes.

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