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J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 16;287(12):9473-83. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.339564. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Protein kinase D regulates RhoA activity via rhotekin phosphorylation.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


The members of the protein kinase D (PKD) family of serine/threonine kinases are major targets for tumor-promoting phorbol esters, G protein-coupled receptors, and activated protein kinase C isoforms (PKCs). The expanding list of cellular processes in which PKDs exert their function via phosphorylation of various substrates include proliferation, apoptosis, migration, angiogenesis, and vesicle trafficking. Therefore, identification of novel PKD substrates is necessary to understand the profound role of this kinase family in signal transduction. Here, we show that rhotekin, an effector of RhoA GTPase, is a novel substrate of PKD. We identified Ser-435 in rhotekin as the potential site targeted by PKD in vivo. Expression of a phosphomimetic S435E rhotekin mutant resulted in an increase of endogenous active RhoA GTPase levels. Phosphorylation of rhotekin by PKD2 modulates the anchoring of the RhoA in the plasma membrane. Consequently, the S435E rhotekin mutant displayed enhanced stress fiber formation when expressed in serum-starved fibroblasts. Our data thus identify a novel role of PKD as a regulator of RhoA activity and actin stress fiber formation through phosphorylation of rhotekin.

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