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J Biol Chem. 2014 Sep 19;289(38):26167-77. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.601153. Epub 2014 Aug 1.

Regulation of Yersinia protein kinase A (YpkA) kinase activity by multisite autophosphorylation and identification of an N-terminal substrate-binding domain in YpkA.

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From the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Davis, California 95616 and.
the Proteomics Core Facility, Genome Center, University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616.
From the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Davis, California 95616 and


The serine/threonine protein kinase YpkA is an essential virulence factor produced by pathogenic Yersinia species. YpkA is delivered into host mammalian cells via a type III secretion system and localizes to the inner side of the plasma membrane. We have previously shown that YpkA binds to and phosphorylates the α subunit of the heterotrimeric G protein complex, Gαq, resulting in inhibition of Gαq signaling. To identify residues in YpkA involved in substrate binding activity we generated GFP-YpkA N-terminal deletion mutants and performed coimmunoprecipitation experiments. We located a substrate-binding domain on amino acids 40-49 of YpkA, which lies within the previously identified membrane localization domain on YpkA. Deletion of amino acids 40-49 on YpkA interfered with substrate binding, substrate phosphorylation and substrate inhibition. Autophosphorylation regulates the kinase activity of YpkA. To dissect the mechanism by which YpkA transmits signals, we performed nano liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry to map in vivo phosphorylation sites. Multiple serine phosphorylation sites were identified in the secretion/translocation region, kinase domain, and C-terminal region of YpkA. Using site-directed mutagenesis we generated multiple YpkA constructs harboring specific serine to alanine point mutations. Our results demonstrate that multiple autophosphorylation sites within the N terminus regulate YpkA kinase activation, whereas mutation of serine to alanine within the C terminus of YpkA had no effect on kinase activity. YpkA autophosphorylation on multiple sites may be a strategy used by pathogenic Yersinia to prevent inactivation of this important virulence protein by host proteins.


Autophosphorylation; Bacterial Pathogenesis; Gαq; Heterotrimeric G Protein; Host-Pathogen Interaction; Serine/Threonine Protein Kinase; Substrate-binding Domain; Type III Secretion System (T3SS); Yersinia Serine/Threonine Protein Kinase A; YpkA

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