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Genetics. 2004 Dec;168(4):1843-53.

In vivo activation of protein kinase A in Schizosaccharomyces pombe requires threonine phosphorylation at its activation loop and is dependent on PDK1.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York 11203-2098, USA.


Phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase 1 (PDK1) plays a central role in cellular signaling by phosphorylating members of the AGC family of kinases. This family includes protein kinase C (PKC), protein kinase B (PKB), p70/p90 ribosomal S6 kinases (RSK and S6K), and the catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Although PDK1 phosphorylates and activates PKC, PKB, and RSK in vivo, PDK1 regulation of PKA remains controversial. We isolated ksg1, the fission yeast ortholog of mammalian PDK1, as a suppressor of growth defects caused by loss of the stress-activated MAP kinase, Spc1. Here, we demonstrate that Ksg1 is required for activation of PKA. Cells containing the ksg1.12 thermolabile allele exhibit pleiotropic phenotypes, including the failure to arrest in G(1) and an inability to conjugate. The ksg1.12 allele strongly suppresses defects associated with unregulated PKA. Pka1, the catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase, is phosphorylated in vivo at Thr-356, which is located in the activation loop of the kinase and corresponds to Thr-197 in mammalian PKA. Phosphorylation of Thr-356 is required for in vivo activation of Pka1 and is dependent upon Ksg1. These data provide experimental evidence that PKA is a physiological substrate for PDK1.

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