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J Biol Chem. 1991 Aug 5;266(22):14390-8.

Protein kinase C substrate and inhibitor characteristics of peptides derived from the myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate (MARCKS) protein phosphorylation site domain.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute Laboratories, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


The phosphorylation sites in the myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate or MARCKS protein consist of four serines contained within a conserved, basic region of 25 amino acids, termed the phosphorylation site domain. A synthetic peptide comprising this domain was phosphorylated by both protein kinase C and its catalytic fragment with high affinity and apparent positive cooperativity. Tryptic phosphopeptides derived from the peptide appeared similar to phosphopeptides derived from the phosphorylated intact protein. The peptide was phosphorylated by cAMP- and cGMP-dependent protein kinases with markedly lower affinities. In peptides containing only one of the four serines, with the other three serines replaced by alanine, the affinities for protein kinase C ranged from 25 to 60 nM with Hill constants between 1.8 and 3.0. The potential pseudosubstrate peptide, in which all four serines were replaced by alanines, inhibited protein kinase C phosphorylation of histone or a peptide substrate with an IC50 of 100-200 nM with apparently non-competitive kinetics; it also inhibited the catalytic fragment of protein kinase C with a Ki of 20 nM, with kinetics of the mixed type. The peptide did not significantly inhibit the cAMP- and cGMP-dependent protein kinases. It inhibited Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases I, II, and III by competing with the kinases for calmodulin. In addition, the peptide inhibited the Ca2+/calmodulin-independent activity of a proteolytic fragment of Ca2+/calmodulin protein kinase II, with an IC50 approximately 5 microM. Thus, the phosphorylation site domain peptide of the MARCKS protein is a high affinity substrate for protein kinase C in vitro; the cognate peptide containing no serines is a potent but not completely specific inhibitor of both protein kinase C and its catalytic fragment.

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