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J Biol Chem. 1994 May 20;269(20):14509-17.

cAMP- and cGMP-dependent protein kinase phosphorylation sites of the focal adhesion vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) in vitro and in intact human platelets.

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Medizinische Universit├Ątsklinik, Klinische Biochemie und Pathobiochemie, Federal Republic of Germany.


The vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) is a major substrate for cAMP-dependent- (cAK) and cGMP-dependent protein kinase (cGK) in human platelets and other cardiovascular cells. To identify the VASP phosphorylation sites, purified VASP was phosphorylated by either protein kinase and subjected to trypsin, V8 and Lys-C proteolysis. The phosphorylated proteolytic fragments obtained were separated by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography. Sequence analysis of the phosphorylated peptides and 32P measurement of the released 32P-labeled amino acids revealed three phosphorylation sites: a serine 1-containing site (LRKVSKQEEA), a serine 2-containing site (HIERRVSNAG), and a threonine-containing site (MNAVLARRRKATQVGE). Additional experiments with purified VASP demonstrated that both cAK and cGK phosphorylated serine 2 rapidly and the threonine residue slowly, whereas cGK phosphorylated the serine 1 residue more rapidly than the cAK. These differences in the phosphorylation rates of VASP by the two protein kinases were also observed with synthetic peptides corresponding to the sequences of the three identified phosphorylation sites. These experiments also established the synthetic peptide serine 1 as one of the best in vitro cGK substrates and the serine 2-containing site as the site responsible for the phosphorylation-induced mobility shift of VASP in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Experiments with 32P-labeled platelets provided evidence that VASP is phosphorylated at the same three identified sites also in intact cells and that selective activation of cAK or cGK primarily increased the phosphorylation of both serine 2 and serine 1 but not threonine. Our results demonstrated overlapping substrate specificities of cAK and cGK in vitro and in intact cells. However, important quantitative and qualitative differences between cAK- and cGK-mediated phosphorylation of the focal adhesion protein VASP in human platelets were also observed, suggesting distinct functions of the two types of cyclic nucleotide-mediated VASP phosphorylation.

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