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J Biol Chem. 2003 Apr 25;278(17):15162-7. Epub 2003 Jan 27.

Mapping of synergistic components of weakly interacting protein-protein motifs using arrays of paired peptides.

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Serono Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Geneva 1228, Switzerland.


Protein-protein recognition usually involves multiple interactions among different motifs that are scattered over protein surfaces. To identify such weak interactions, we have developed a novel double peptide synthesis (DS) method. This method allows us to map protein-protein interactions that involve two linear dis- continuous components from a polypeptide by the use of spatially addressable synergistic pairs of synthetic peptides. The DS procedure is based on the "SPOT" membrane-bound peptide synthesis technique, but to synthesize a mixture of two peptides, it uses both Fmoc (N-(9-fluorenyl)methoxycarbonyl))-alanine and Alloc-alanine at the first cycle. This allows their selective deprotection by either piperidine or tributyltin/palladium treatment, respectively. Using SPOT DS, we confirmed as a proof of principle that Elk-1 Ser(383) phosphorylation by ERK-2 kinase is stimulated by the presence of the Elk-1-docking domain. SPOT DS can also be used to dissect protein-protein motifs that define phosphatase substrate affinity. Using this technique, we identified three new regions in the insulin receptor that stimulate the dephosphorylation of the receptor by protein-tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) 1B and presumably increase the selectivity of PTP for this substrate. These data demonstrate that the SPOT DS technique allows the identification of non-linear weakly interacting protein motifs, which are an important determinant of protein kinase and phosphatase substrate specificity and of protein-protein interactions in general.

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