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The use of in vitro peptide-library screens in the analysis of phosphoserine/threonine-binding domain structure and function.

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  • 1Center for Cancer Research, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Phosphoserine/threonine-binding domains integrate intracellular signal transduction events by forming multiprotein complexes with substrates of protein serine/threonine kinases. These phosphorylation-dependent molecular recognition events are responsible for coordinating the precise temporal and spatial response of cells to a wide range of stimuli, particularly those involved in cell cycle control and the response to DNA damage. The known families of phosphoserine/threonine-binding modules include 14-3-3 proteins, WW domains, FHA domains, WD40 repeats, and the Polo-box domains of Polo-like kinases. Peptide-library experiments reveal the optimal sequence motifs recognized by these domains, and facilitate high-resolution structural studies elucidating the mechanisms of phospho-dependent binding and the molecular basis for domain function within intricate signaling networks. Information emerging from these studies is critical for the design of novel experimental and therapeutic tools aimed at altering signal transduction cascades in normal and diseased cells.

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