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J Biol Chem. 1996 Aug 30;271(35):21108-13.

Site-specific phosphorylation of synapsin I by mitogen-activated protein kinase and Cdk5 and its effects on physiological functions.

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Division of Biomedical Polymer Science, Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science, Fujita Health University, Toyoake, Aichi 470-11, Japan.


Posttranslational modifications of synapsin I, a major phosphoprotein in synaptic terminals, were studied by mass spectrometry. In addition to a well known phosphorylation site by calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase II), a hitherto unrecognized site (Ser553) was found phosphorylated in vivo. The phosphorylation site is immediately followed by a proline, suggesting that the protein is an in vivo substrate of so-called proline-directed protein kinase(s). To identify the kinase involved, three proline-directed protein kinases expressed highly in the brain, i.e. mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase, Cdk5-p23, and glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, were tested for the in vitro phosphorylation of synapsin I. Only MAP kinase and Cdk5-p23 phosphorylated synapsin I stoichiometrically. The phosphorylation sites were determined to be Ser551 and Ser553 with Cdk5-p23, and Ser62, Ser67, and Ser551 with MAP kinase. Upon phosphorylation with MAP kinase, synapsin I showed reduced F-actin bundling activity, while no significant effect on the interaction was observed with the protein phosphorylated with Cdk5-p23. These results raise the possibility that the so-called proline-directed protein kinases together with CaM kinase II and cAMP-dependent protein kinase play an important role in the regulation of synapsin I function.

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