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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1992 Jun 15;185(2):524-30.

Phosphorylation of interleukin-6 at serine54: an early event in the secretory pathway in human fibroblasts.

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Department of Microbiology & Immunology, New York Medical College, Valhalla 10595.


The cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is the major phosphoprotein secreted by human fibroblasts induced with interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1 alpha). We have determined that Ser54 is the predominant site of phosphorylation on the fibroblast-derived IL-6 polypeptide; the amino acid motif surrounding this site is reminiscent of the target site for the Golgi-associated protein (casein) kinase. It has been shown earlier that the IL-6 polypeptide follows the classical secretory pathway where N-linked glycosylation is detectable within the first 15 minutes of labeling with [35S]-methionine and O-linked glycosylation occurs between 15-30 minutes after the start of polypeptide synthesis. Pulse-chase experiments using [32P]-orthophosphate or [35S]-methionine as tracers indicated that phosphorylation of IL-6 occurred prior to its O-glycosylation suggesting that the de novo synthesized IL-6 polypeptide is rapidly, perhaps even cotranslationally, phosphorylated at an intravesicular site (in the endoplasmic reticulum and/or Golgi). When IL-1 alpha-induced fibroblasts were exposed to cycloheximide there was enhancement of the net de novo synthesis and secretion of IL-6 as followed by [35S]-methionine labeling ("superinduction") but the secreted cytokine was no longer phosphorylated as monitored by [32P] labeling. Thus, phosphorylation of the IL-6 polypeptide is not an obligatory requirement for secretion of this cytokine. Furthermore, IL-6 phosphorylation is inhibited by cycloheximide through a mechanism different from the drug's effects on polypeptide synthesis per se.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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