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J Mol Biol. 2004 Jun 18;339(5):1025-39.

Structural modes of stabilization of permissive phosphorylation sites in protein kinases: distinct strategies in Ser/Thr and Tyr kinases.

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Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.


Protein kinases phosphorylate several cellular proteins providing control mechanisms for various signalling processes. Their activity is impeded in a number of ways and restored by alteration in their structural properties leading to a catalytically active state. Most protein kinases are subjected to positive and negative regulation by phosphorylation of Ser/Thr/Tyr residues at specific sites within and outside the catalytic core. The current review describes the analysis on 3D structures of protein kinases that revealed features distinct to active states of Ser/Thr and Tyr kinases. The nature and extent of interactions among well-conserved residues surrounding the permissive phosphorylation sites differ among the two classes of enzymes. The network of interactions of highly conserved Arg preceding the catalytic base that mediates stabilization of the activation segment exemplifies such diverse interactions in the two groups of kinases. The N-terminal and the C-terminal lobes of various groups of protein kinases further show variations in their extent of coupling as suggested from the extent of interactions between key functional residues in activation segment and the N-terminal alphaC-helix. We observe higher similarity in the conformations of ATP bound to active forms of protein kinases compared to ATP conformations in the inactive forms of kinases. The extent of structural variations accompanying phosphorylation of protein kinases is widely varied. The comparison of their crystal structures and the distinct features observed are hoped to aid in the understanding of mechanisms underlying the control of the catalytic activity of distinct subgroups of protein kinases.

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