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EMBO J. 1997 Apr 15;16(8):1876-87.

Structural basis for the recognition of regulatory subunits by the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 1.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, University of Oxford, UK.


The diverse forms of protein phosphatase 1 in vivo result from the association of its catalytic subunit (PP1c) with different regulatory subunits, one of which is the G-subunit (G(M)) that targets PP1c to glycogen particles in muscle. Here we report the structure, at 3.0 A resolution, of PP1c in complex with a 13 residue peptide (G(M[63-75])) of G(M). The residues in G(M[63-75]) that interact with PP1c are those in the Arg/Lys-Val/Ile-Xaa-Phe motif that is present in almost every other identified mammalian PP1-binding subunit. Disrupting this motif in the G(M[63-75]) peptide and the M(110[1-38]) peptide (which mimics the myofibrillar targeting M110 subunit in stimulating the dephosphorylation of myosin) prevents these peptides from interacting with PP1. A short peptide from the PP1-binding protein p53BP2 that contains the RVXF motif also interacts with PP1c. These findings identify a recognition site on PP1c, invariant from yeast to humans, for a critical structural motif on regulatory subunits. This explains why the binding of PP1 to its regulatory subunits is mutually exclusive, and suggests a novel approach for identifying the functions of PP1-binding proteins whose roles are unknown.

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