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J Cell Biochem. 2003 Jun 1;89(3):589-602.

Retaining of the assembly capability of vimentin phosphorylated by mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase-2.

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Department of Life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinshu, Taiwan 30013, Republic of China.


Intermediate filament (IF) networks can be regulated by phosphorylation of unit proteins, such as vimentin, by specific kinases leading to reorganization of the IF filamentous structure. Recently, we identified mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase-2 (MAPKAP kinase-2) as a vimentin kinase (Cheng and Lai [1998] J. Cell. Biochem. 71:169-181). Herein we describe the results of further in vitro studies investigating the effects of MAPKAP kinase-2 phosphorylation on vimentin and the effects of the phosphorylation on the filamentous structure. We show that MAPKAP kinase-2 mainly phosphorylates vimentin at Ser-38, Ser-50, Ser-55, and Ser-82, residues all located in the head domain of the protein. Surprisingly, and in stark contrast to phosphorylation by most other kinases, phosphorylation of vimentin by MAPKAP kinase-2 has no discernable effect on its assembly. It suggested that structure disassembly is not the only obligated consequence of phosphorylated vimentin as regulated by other kinases. Finally, a mutational analysis of each of the phosphorylated serine residues in vimentin suggested that no single serine site was primarily responsible for structure maintenance, implying that the retention of filamentous structure may be the result of the coordinated action of several phosphorylated serine sites. This also shed new lights on the functional task(s) of vimentin that is intermediate filament proteins might provide a phosphate reservoir to accommodate the phosphate surge without any structural changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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