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Nat Chem Biol. 2012 Jan 22;8(3):262-9. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.771.

Regulation of CK2 by phosphorylation and O-GlcNAcylation revealed by semisynthesis.

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Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Protein serine-threonine kinase casein kinase II (CK2) is involved in a myriad of cellular processes including cell growth and proliferation through its phosphorylation of hundreds of substrates, yet how CK2 function is regulated is poorly understood. Here we report that the CK2 catalytic subunit CK2α is modified by O-linked β-N-acetyl-glucosamine (O-GlcNAc) on Ser347, proximal to a cyclin-dependent kinase phosphorylation site (Thr344). We use protein semisynthesis to show that phosphorylation of Thr344 increases the cellular stability of CK2α by strengthening its interaction with Pin1, whereas glycosylation of Ser347 seems to be antagonistic to Thr344 phosphorylation and permissive to proteasomal degradation. By performing kinase assays with site-specifically phospho- and glyco-modified CK2α in combination with CK2β and Pin1 binding partners on human protein microarrays, we show that the kinase substrate selectivity of CK2 is modulated by these specific post-translational modifications. This study suggests how a promiscuous protein kinase can be regulated at multiple levels to achieve particular biological outputs.

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