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Biochemistry. 2007 Oct 16;46(41):11614-20. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

Use of a chemical genetic technique to identify myosin IIb as a substrate of the Abl-related gene (Arg) tyrosine kinase.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Abl family kinases have been implicated in the regulation of cell morphogenesis and migration, but the molecular mechanisms through which they operate are not fully elucidated. We applied the bump-hole technique, pioneered by Shokat and colleagues, to identify direct substrates of Abl and the Abl-related gene (Arg) kinases. This technique required the engineering of Abl/Arg to utilize an unnatural ATP analogue as a phospho-donor. Mutation of T334A and T361A in Abl and Arg, respectively, altered their nucleotide specificity and allowed them to utilize N6-benzyl-ATP as a phospho-donor. These mutations did not affect the catalytic activity or protein substrate specificity of Abl and Arg. An unexpected high level of background labeling necessitated further optimization of this approach. Dialysis, pretreatment with a broad-spectrum Ser/Thr kinase inhibitor, K-252a, and purification of phosphotyrosine-containing proteins allowed for definitive identification of putative substrates. Using mass spectrometry, we identified eight putative substrates. One of these putative substrates, myosin IIB, can be phosphorylated in vivo by Arg. Our results indicate that the bump-hole technique can be used to identify Abl family kinase substrates and suggests that myosin IIB may be regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation.

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