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J Mol Biol. 2009 Aug 7;391(1):136-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.06.018. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

Structural characterization of the natively unfolded N-terminal domain of human c-Src kinase: insights into the role of phosphorylation of the unique domain.

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Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Parc Científic de Barcelona, Baldiri Reixac 10, Barcelona, Spain.


The N-terminal regions of the members of Src family of non-receptor protein tyrosine kinases are intrinsically unfolded and contain the maximum sequence divergence among them. In this study, we have addressed the structural characterization by nuclear magnetic resonance of this region of 84 residues that encompasses the SH4 and the unique domains (USrc) of the human c-Src. With this aim, the backbone assignment was performed using (13)C-detected experiments that overcome the spectral resolution problems and the large number of prolines that are typical for intrinsically unfolded proteins. The analysis of the residual dipolar couplings measured for the USrc indicates the presence of a low populated helical structure in the 60-75 region. No long-range contacts between remote fragments of the chain were detected with paramagnetic relaxation enhancement experiments. The structural characterization was extended to two different phosphorylation states of USrc that encompassed three different phosphorylated sites, Ser17, Thr37, and Ser75. The structural and conformational changes upon phosphorylation were monitored through chemical shift perturbations and residual dipolar couplings, indicating that modifications occur at local level and no global rearrangements were apparent. These results suggest a scenario where phosphorylation induces a global electrostatic perturbation that could be involved in the membrane unbinding of c-Src and that could be related with the localization of the enzyme. These observations suggest the unique domain of Src kinases as a source of selectivity and reinforce the relevant role of intrinsically disordered proteins in biological processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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