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J Virol. 2004 Apr;78(7):3502-13.

High-throughput screening of the yeast kinome: identification of human serine/threonine protein kinases that phosphorylate the hepatitis C virus NS5A protein.

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Department of Microbiology, Washington National Primate Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


The hepatitis C virus NS5A protein plays a critical role in virus replication, conferring interferon resistance to the virus through perturbation of multiple intracellular signaling pathways. Since NS5A is a phosphoprotein, it is of considerable interest to understand the role of phosphorylation in NS5A function. In this report, we investigated the phosphorylation of NS5A by taking advantage of 119 glutathione S-transferase-tagged protein kinases purified from Saccharomyces cerevisiae to perform a global screening of yeast kinases capable of phosphorylating NS5A in vitro. A database BLAST search was subsequently performed by using the sequences of the yeast kinases that phosphorylated NS5A in order to identify human kinases with the highest sequence homologies. Subsequent in vitro kinase assays and phosphopeptide mapping studies confirmed that several of the homologous human protein kinases were capable of phosphorylating NS5A. In vivo phosphopeptide mapping revealed phosphopeptides common to those generated in vitro by AKT, p70S6K, MEK1, and MKK6, suggesting that these kinases may phosphorylate NS5A in mammalian cells. Significantly, rapamycin, an inhibitor commonly used to investigate the mTOR/p70S6K pathway, reduced the in vivo phosphorylation of specific NS5A phosphopeptides, strongly suggesting that p70S6 kinase and potentially related members of this group phosphorylate NS5A inside the cell. Curiously, certain of these kinases also play a major role in mRNA translation and antiapoptotic pathways, some of which are already known to be regulated by NS5A. The findings presented here demonstrate the use of high-throughput screening of the yeast kinome to facilitate the major task of identifying human NS5A protein kinases for further characterization of phosphorylation events in vivo. Our results suggest that this novel approach may be generally applicable to the screening of other protein biochemical activities by mechanistic class.

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