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Proteins. 2007 May 15;67(3):720-31.

An unsuspected ecdysteroid/steroid phosphatase activity in the key T-cell regulator, Sts-1: surprising relationship to insect ecdysteroid phosphate phosphatase.

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School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Biosciences Building, Liverpool L69 7ZB, United Kingdom.


The insect enzyme ecdysteroid phosphate phosphatase (EPP) mobilizes active ecdysteroids from an inactive phosphorylated pool. Previously assigned to a novel class, it is shown here that it resides in the large histidine phosphatase superfamily related to cofactor-dependent phosphoglycerate mutase, a superfamily housing notably diverse catalytic activities. Molecular modeling reveals a plausible substrate-binding mode for EPP. Analysis of genomic and transcript data for a number of insect species shows that EPP may exist in both the single domain form previously characterized and in a longer, multidomain form. This latter form bears a quite unexpected relationship in sequence and domain architecture to vertebrate proteins, including Sts-1, characterized as a key regulator of T-cell activity. Long form Drosophila melanogaster EPP, human Sts-1, and a related protein from Caenorhabditis elegans have all been cloned, assayed, and shown to catalyse the hydrolysis of ecdysteroid and steroid phosphates. The surprising relationship described and explored here between EPP and Sts-1 has implications for our understanding of the function(s) of both.

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