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J Immunol. 2004 May 15;172(10):6336-44.

Transient and selective NF-kappa B p65 serine 536 phosphorylation induced by T cell costimulation is mediated by I kappa B kinase beta and controls the kinetics of p65 nuclear import.

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University of Bern, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Bern, Switzerland.


Full transcriptional activity of the nuclear, DNA-bound form of NF-kappaB requires additional posttranslational modifications. In this study, we systematically mapped the T cell costimulation-induced phosphorylation sites within the C-terminal half of the strongly trans-activating NF-kappaB p65 subunit and identified serine 536 as the main phosphorylation site. The transient kinetics of serine 536 phosphorylation paralleled the kinetics of IkappaBalpha and IkappaB kinase (IKK) phosphorylation and also mirrored the principle of T cell costimulation. The TCR-induced pathway leading to serine 536 phosphorylation is regulated by the kinases Cot (Tpl2), receptor interacting protein, protein kinase Ctheta, and NF-kappaB-inducing kinase, but is independent from the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway. Loss-of-function and gain-of-function experiments showed phosphorylation of p65 serine 536 by IKKbeta, but not by IKKalpha. Phosphorylation occurs within the cytoplasmic and intact NF-kappaB/IkappaBalpha complex and requires prior phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha at serines 32 and 36. Reconstitution of p65(-/-) cells either with wild-type p65 or a p65 mutant containing a serine to alanine mutation revealed the importance of this phosphorylation site for cytosolic IkappaBalpha localization and the kinetics of p65 nuclear import.

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