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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jan 2;284(1):306-13. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M805593200. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

Phosphorylation of serine 271 on 5-lipoxygenase and its role in nuclear export.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


The enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) initiates the biosynthesis of leukotrienes, inflammatory mediators involved in immune diseases and defense. The subcellular localization of 5-LO is regulated, with nuclear import commonly leading to increased leukotriene production. We report here that 5-LO is constitutively phosphorylated on Ser-271 in transfected NIH 3T3 cells. This residue is nested in a classical nuclear export sequence, and phosphorylated Ser-271 5-LO was exclusively found in the nucleus by immunofluorescence and by fractionation techniques. Mutation of Ser-271 to Ala allowed nuclear export of 5-LO that was blocked by the specific nuclear export inhibitor leptomycin b, suggesting that phosphorylation of Ser-271 serves to interfere with exportin-1-mediated nuclear export. Consistent with previous reports that purified 5-LO can be phosphorylated on Ser-271 in vitro by MAPK-activated protein kinase 2, the nuclear export of 5-LO was increased by either treatment with the p38 inhibitor SB 203,580 or co-expression of a kinase-deficient p38 MAPK. Nuclear export of 5-LO can also be induced by KN-93, an inhibitor of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II, and the effects of SB 203,580 plus KN-93 are additive. Finally, HeLa cells, which lack nuclear 5-LO, also lack constitutive phosphorylation of Ser-271. Taken together, these results indicate that the phosphorylation of Ser-271 serves to inhibit the nuclear export of 5-LO. This action works in concert with nuclear import, which is regulated by phosphorylation on Ser-523, to determine the subcellular distribution of 5-LO, which in turn regulates leukotriene biosynthesis.

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