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Curr Biol. 2004 Apr 20;14(8):736-41.

Atypical PKC phosphorylates PAR-1 kinases to regulate localization and activity.

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Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The establishment and maintenance of cellular polarity are essential biological processes that must be maintained throughout the lifetime of eukaryotic organisms. The Par-1 protein kinases are key polarity determinants that have been conserved throughout evolution. Par-1 directs anterior-posterior asymmetry in the one-cell C. elegans embryo and the Drosophila oocyte. In mammalian cells, Par-1 may regulate epithelial cell polarity. Relevant substrates of Par-1 in these pathways are just being identified, but it is not yet known how Par-1 itself is regulated. Here, we demonstrate that human Par-1b (hPar-1b) interacts with and is negatively regulated by atypical PKC. hPar-1b is phosphorylated by aPKC on threonine 595, a residue conserved in Par-1 orthologs in mammals, worms, and flies. The equivalent site in hPar-1a, T564, is phosphorylated in vivo and by aPKC in vitro. Importantly, phosphorylation of hPar-1b on T595 negatively regulates the kinase activity and plasma membrane localization of hPar-1b in vivo. This study establishes a novel functional link between two central determinants of cellular polarity, aPKC and Par-1, and suggests a model by which aPKC may regulate Par-1 in polarized cells.

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