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J Biol Chem. 2012 May 18;287(21):17050-64. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.316661. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

Multisite phosphorylation disrupts arginine-glutamate salt bridge networks required for binding of cytoplasmic linker-associated protein 2 (CLASP2) to end-binding protein 1 (EB1).

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Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


A group of diverse proteins reversibly binds to growing microtubule plus ends through interactions with end-binding proteins (EBs). These +TIPs control microtubule dynamics and microtubule interactions with other intracellular structures. Here, we use cytoplasmic linker-associated protein 2 (CLASP2) binding to EB1 to determine how multisite phosphorylation regulates interactions with EB1. The central, intrinsically disordered region of vertebrate CLASP proteins contains two SXIP EB1 binding motifs that are required for EB1-mediated plus-end-tracking in vitro. In cells, both EB1 binding motifs can be functional, but most of the binding free energy results from nearby electrostatic interactions. By employing molecular dynamics simulations of the EB1 interaction with a minimal CLASP2 plus-end-tracking module, we find that conserved arginine residues in CLASP2 form extensive hydrogen-bond networks with glutamate residues predominantly in the unstructured, acidic C-terminal tail of EB1. Multisite phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) sites near the EB1 binding motifs disrupts this electrostatic "molecular Velcro." Molecular dynamics simulations and (31)P NMR spectroscopy indicate that phosphorylated serines participate in intramolecular interactions with and sequester arginine residues required for EB1 binding. Multisite phosphorylation of these GSK3 motifs requires priming phosphorylation by interphase or mitotic cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), and we find that CDK- and GSK3-dependent phosphorylation completely disrupts CLASP2 microtubule plus-end-tracking in mitosis.

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