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J Biol Chem. 1990 Apr 15;265(11):6061-5.

Ordered multisite protein phosphorylation. Analysis of glycogen synthase kinase 3 action using model peptide substrates.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46223.


Recognition of substrates by the protein kinase glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) usually requires prior phosphorylation of the substrate. Using a peptide based on the glycogen synthase sequence PRPAS(3a)VPPS (3b)PSLS(3c)RHSS(4)PHQS(5)EDEEEP (where the numbers in parentheses denote sites of phosphorylation), we showed previously that phosphorylation of site 5 by casein kinase II was necessary for GSK-3 to phosphorylate the peptide at sites 3a, 3b, 3c, and 4 (Fiol, C. J., Mahrenholz, A. M., Wang, Y., Roeske, R. W., and Roach, P. J. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262, 14042-14048). In the present study, variant peptides were synthesized in which sites 3a, 3b, 3c, and 4 were individually replaced by Ala residues (denoted Ala-3c, etc.). All of the variant peptides were substrates for casein kinase II. The peptide Ala-4,Ser(P)-5 was not a substrate for GSK-3 confirming the minimal recognition sequence for the protein kinase as -SXXXS(P)-. The peptides Ala-3c,Ser(P)-5, Ala-3b,Ser(P)-5, and Ala-3a,Ser(P)-5, however, were all good substrates for GSK-3 with apparent Km values in the range 3-6 microns, comparable with that of the parent peptide. GSK-3 could introduce 1, 2, and 3 phosphates, respectively, into these substrates, always COOH-terminal to the substituted Ala residue. Ala-4,Ser(P)-5 and Ala-3c,Ser(P)-4,Ser(P)-5 were competitive inhibitors for phosphorylation of the parent peptide, with Ki values of 2 and 5 microns, respectively. The data suggest (i) that GSK-3 recognizes serines in the motif -SXXXS(P)-, and (ii) that multiple phosphorylation of the peptide substrate has an obligate order, with the sequential formation of new recognition sequences.

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