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Biochem J. 2004 Mar 15;378(Pt 3):857-65.

Phosphorylation regulates nucleophosmin targeting to the centrosome during mitosis as detected by cross-reactive phosphorylation-specific MKK1/MKK2 antibodies.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


Phosphorylation-specific antibodies provide a powerful tool for analysing the regulation and activity of proteins in the MAP (mitogen-activated protein) kinase and other signalling pathways. Using synchronized cells, it was observed that phosphorylation-specific antibodies developed against the active form of MKK1/MKK2 (MAP kinase kinase-1 and -2) reacted with a protein that was approx. 35 kDa during G2/M-phase of the cell cycle. Failure of the 35 kDa protein to react with phosphorylation-independent MKK1/MKK2 antibodies suggested that this protein was not related to MKK1 or MKK2. Thus the 35 kDa protein was isolated by immunoprecipitation with the phospho-MKK1/MKK2 antibody and identified by MS. Peptide sequence analysis revealed matches with NPM (nucleophosmin/B23), a phosphoprotein involved in nucleolar assembly, centrosome duplication and ribosome assembly and transport. Biochemical and immunocytochemistry analyses verified that the phospho-MKK1/MKK2 antibodies cross-reacted with NPM that was phosphorylated at Thr234 and Thr237 during G2/M-phase, which are the same sites that are targeted by Cdc2 (cell division cycle protein-2) during mitosis. Using phosphorylation site mutants, we show that phosphorylation of Thr234 and Thr237 is required for NPM immunoreactivity with the phospho-MKK1/MKK2 antibody. Moreover, phosphorylation of Thr234 and Thr237 was demonstrated to regulate NPM localization to the centrosome after nuclear envelope breakdown in mitotic cells. These findings reveal a new insight into the role of phosphorylation in regulating NPM targeting during mitosis. However, caution should be used when using commercially available phospho-MKK1/MKK2 antibodies to examine the regulation of MKK1/MKK2 during mitotic transitions, owing to their cross-reactivity with phosphorylated NPM at this time of the cell cycle.

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