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J Biol Chem. 1993 Aug 15;268(23):17309-16.

Identification of the major phosphorylation sites of the Raf-1 kinase.

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  • 1ABL-Basic Research Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Maryland 21702.


Treatment of cells with various growth factors and mitogens results in the rapid hyperphosphorylation and activation of the Raf-1 kinase. To determine if phosphorylation events affect Raf-1 activity, we have initiated experiments to identify the phosphorylation sites of Raf-1. In this report, we find that Ser43, Ser259, and Ser621 are the major sites of Raf-1 which are phosphorylated in mammalian cells and in Sf9 insect cells infected with a recombinant baculovirus encoding human Raf-1. Mutant Raf-1 proteins lacking kinase activity are also phosphorylated on these sites in vivo, indicating that these phosphorylation events are not a consequence of autophosphorylation. Furthermore, we find that Thr268 is the predominant Raf-1 residue phosphorylated in in vitro autokinase assays. In addition, we have examined the biochemical activity of baculovirus-expressed Raf-1 proteins containing mutations at these phosphorylation sites. In in vitro protein kinase assays Ser259 mutant proteins were 2-fold more active than wild-type Raf-1 and Ser621 mutant proteins were inactive as kinases. Analysis of the residues surrounding Ser259 and Ser621 indicates that RSXSXP may be a consensus sequence for the kinase responsible for phosphorylation of Raf-1 at these sites. Interestingly, these RSXSXP sequences are completely conserved throughout evolution in all Raf family members.

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