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J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 1;288(9):6640-50. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.432682. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Phosphorylation-mediated 14-3-3 protein binding regulates the function of the rho-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor (RhoGEF) Syx.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA.


Syx is a Rho-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that localizes at cell-cell junctions and promotes junction stability by activating RhoA and the downstream effector Diaphanous homolog 1 (Dia1). Previously, we identified several molecules, including 14-3-3 proteins, as Syx-interacting partners. In the present study, we show that 14-3-3 isoforms interact with Syx at both its N- and C-terminal regions in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. We identify the protein kinase D-mediated phosphorylation of serine 92 on Syx, and additional phosphorylation at serine 938, as critical sites for 14-3-3 association. Our data indicate that the binding of 14-3-3 proteins inhibits the GEF activity of Syx. Furthermore, we show that phosphorylation-deficient, 14-3-3-uncoupled Syx exhibits increased junctional targeting and increased GEF activity, resulting in the strengthening of the circumferential junctional actin ring in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. These findings reveal a novel means of regulating junctional Syx localization and function by phosphorylation-induced 14-3-3 binding and further support the importance of Syx function in maintaining stable cell-cell contacts.

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