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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 Jul 1;343(1):55-62.

Identification of MAPKAPK homolog (MAPKAPK-4) as a myosin II regulatory light-chain kinase in sea urchin egg extracts.

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Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan.


We identified and cloned a homolog of mammalian mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein kinase (MAPKAPK)-2 and -3 from sea urchin, Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus. The obtained cDNA clone was composed of 350 amino acid residues which contain MAPK phosphorylation sites and the bipartite nuclear localization signal sites in its C-terminal domain. The clone showed 65.4 and 66.7% amino acid residue identity to human MAPKAPK-2 and -3, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the homolog can be classified into a distinct group of MAPKAPK and, therefore, the identified homolog was designated as MAPKAPK-4. Biochemical characterization was performed using recombinant glutathione S-transferase (GST)-MAPKAPK-4 fusion protein. The protein kinase activity of GST-MAPKAPK-4 was activated by MAPK and this enabled the kinase to phosphorylate both glycogen synthase N-terminal peptide and the regulatory light chain of myosin II in vitro. Northern blot analysis showed that MAPKAPK-4 was expressed throughout the development of sea urchin embryos. These observations suggest that MAPKAPK-4 may play an important role in the regulation of myosin II activity during the development of sea urchin.

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