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1.  Pseudokinases-remnants of evolution or key allosteric regulators? 
Protein kinases provide a platform for the integration of signal transduction networks. A key feature of transmitting these cellular signals is the ability of protein kinases to activate one another by phosphorylation. A number of kinases are predicted by sequence homology to be incapable of phosphoryl group transfer due to degradation of their catalytic motifs. These are termed pseudokinases and because of the assumed lack of phosphoryltransfer activity their biological role in cellular transduction has been mysterious. Recent structure–function studies have uncovered the molecular determinants for protein kinase inactivity and have shed light to the biological functions and evolution of this enigmatic subset of the human kinome. Pseudokinases act as signal transducers by bringing together components of signalling networks, as well as allosteric activators of active protein kinases.
doi:10.1016/j.sbi.2010.10.001
PMCID: PMC3014569  PMID: 21074407
2.  O-GlcNAcylation of TAB1 modulates TAK1-mediated cytokine release 
The EMBO Journal  2012;31(6):1394-1404.
O-GlcNAcylation of TAB1 modulates TAK1-mediated cytokine release
The protein kinase TAK1 plays an important role in pro-inflammatory cytokine signalling. Interleukin-1- and osmotic stress-induced O-GlcNAcylation of its regulatory subunit TAB1 is required for full TAK1 activation to induce downstream cytokine production, linking this protein modification to innate immunity signalling.
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is a key serine/threonine protein kinase that mediates signals transduced by pro-inflammatory cytokines such as transforming growth factor-β, tumour necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1) and wnt family ligands. TAK1 is found in complex with binding partners TAB1–3, phosphorylation and ubiquitination of which has been found to regulate TAK1 activity. In this study, we show that TAB1 is modified with N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) on a single site, Ser395. With the help of a novel O-GlcNAc site-specific antibody, we demonstrate that O-GlcNAcylation of TAB1 is induced by IL-1 and osmotic stress, known inducers of the TAK1 signalling cascade. By reintroducing wild-type or an O-GlcNAc-deficient mutant TAB1 (S395A) into Tab1−/− mouse embryonic fibroblasts, we determined that O-GlcNAcylation of TAB1 is required for full TAK1 activation upon stimulation with IL-1/osmotic stress, for downstream activation of nuclear factor κB and finally production of IL-6 and TNFα. This is one of the first examples of a single O-GlcNAc site on a signalling protein modulating a key innate immunity signalling pathway.
doi:10.1038/emboj.2012.8
PMCID: PMC3321193  PMID: 22307082
cytokine; glycobiology; innate immunity; O-GlcNAc; signal transduction
3.  Pseudokinases-remnants of evolution or key allosteric regulators? 
Protein kinases provide a platform for the integration of signal transduction networks. A key feature of transmitting these cellular signals is the ability of protein kinases to activate one another by phosphorylation. A number of kinases are predicted by sequence homology to be incapable of phosphoryl group transfer due to degradation of their catalytic motifs. These are termed pseudokinases and because of the assumed lack of phosphoryltransfer activity their biological role in cellular transduction has been mysterious. Recent structure–function studies have uncovered the molecular determinants for protein kinase inactivity and have shed light to the biological functions and evolution of this enigmatic subset of the human kinome. Pseudokinases act as signal transducers by bringing together components of signalling networks, as well as allosteric activators of active protein kinases.
doi:10.1016/j.sbi.2010.10.001
PMCID: PMC3014569  PMID: 21074407
4.  Highly specific inhibition of leukaemia virus membrane fusion by interaction of peptide antagonists with a conserved region of the coiled coil of envelope 
Retrovirology  2008;5:70.
Background
Human T-cell leukaemia virus (HTLV-1) and bovine leukaemia virus (BLV) entry into cells is mediated by envelope glycoprotein catalyzed membrane fusion and is achieved by folding of the transmembrane glycoprotein (TM) from a rod-like pre-hairpin intermediate to a trimer-of-hairpins. For HTLV-1 and for several virus groups this process is sensitive to inhibition by peptides that mimic the C-terminal α-helical region of the trimer-of-hairpins.
Results
We now show that amino acids that are conserved between BLV and HTLV-1 TM tend to map to the hydrophobic groove of the central triple-stranded coiled coil and to the leash and C-terminal α-helical region (LHR) of the trimer-of-hairpins. Remarkably, despite this conservation, BLV envelope was profoundly resistant to inhibition by HTLV-1-derived LHR-mimetics. Conversely, a BLV LHR-mimetic peptide antagonized BLV envelope-mediated membrane fusion but failed to inhibit HTLV-1-induced fusion. Notably, conserved leucine residues are critical to the inhibitory activity of the BLV LHR-based peptides. Homology modeling indicated that hydrophobic residues in the BLV LHR likely make direct contact with a pocket at the membrane-proximal end of the core coiled-coil and disruption of these interactions severely impaired the activity of the BLV inhibitor. Finally, the structural predictions assisted the design of a more potent antagonist of BLV membrane fusion.
Conclusion
A conserved region of the HTLV-1 and BLV coiled coil is a target for peptide inhibitors of envelope-mediated membrane fusion and HTLV-1 entry. Nevertheless, the LHR-based inhibitors are highly specific to the virus from which the peptide was derived. We provide a model structure for the BLV LHR and coiled coil, which will facilitate comparative analysis of leukaemia virus TM function and may provide information of value in the development of improved, therapeutically relevant, antagonists of HTLV-1 entry into cells.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-5-70
PMCID: PMC2533354  PMID: 18680566

Results 1-4 (4)