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1.  Parkin is activated by PINK1-dependent phosphorylation of ubiquitin at Ser65 
Biochemical Journal  2014;460(Pt 1):127-139.
We have previously reported that the Parkinson's disease-associated kinase PINK1 (PTEN-induced putative kinase 1) is activated by mitochondrial depolarization and stimulates the Parkin E3 ligase by phosphorylating Ser65 within its Ubl (ubiquitin-like) domain. Using phosphoproteomic analysis, we identified a novel ubiquitin phosphopeptide phosphorylated at Ser65 that was enriched 14-fold in HEK (human embryonic kidney)-293 cells overexpressing wild-type PINK1 stimulated with the mitochondrial uncoupling agent CCCP (carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone), to activate PINK1, compared with cells expressing kinase-inactive PINK1. Ser65 in ubiquitin lies in a similar motif to Ser65 in the Ubl domain of Parkin. Remarkably, PINK1 directly phosphorylates Ser65 of ubiquitin in vitro. We undertook a series of experiments that provide striking evidence that Ser65-phosphorylated ubiquitin (ubiquitinPhospho−Ser65) functions as a critical activator of Parkin. First, we demonstrate that a fragment of Parkin lacking the Ubl domain encompassing Ser65 (ΔUbl-Parkin) is robustly activated by ubiquitinPhospho−Ser65, but not by non-phosphorylated ubiquitin. Secondly, we find that the isolated Parkin Ubl domain phosphorylated at Ser65 (UblPhospho−Ser65) can also activate ΔUbl-Parkin similarly to ubiquitinPhospho−Ser65. Thirdly, we establish that ubiquitinPhospho−Ser65, but not non-phosphorylated ubiquitin or UblPhospho−Ser65, activates full-length wild-type Parkin as well as the non-phosphorylatable S65A Parkin mutant. Fourthly, we provide evidence that optimal activation of full-length Parkin E3 ligase is dependent on PINK1-mediated phosphorylation of both Parkin at Ser65 and ubiquitin at Ser65, since only mutation of both proteins at Ser65 completely abolishes Parkin activation. In conclusion, the findings of the present study reveal that PINK1 controls Parkin E3 ligase activity not only by phosphorylating Parkin at Ser65, but also by phosphorylating ubiquitin at Ser65. We propose that phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 serves to prime the E3 ligase enzyme for activation by ubiquitinPhospho−Ser65, suggesting that small molecules that mimic ubiquitinPhospho−Ser65 could hold promise as novel therapies for Parkinson's disease.
We describe a novel and unexpected mechanism by which PINK1 protein kinase activates Parkin E3 ligase. We show that PINK1 phosphorylates ubiquitin at Ser65 and that phosphorylated ubiquitin acts as a direct activator of Parkin.
doi:10.1042/BJ20140334
PMCID: PMC4000136  PMID: 24660806
Parkin; Parkinson’s disease; phosphorylation; PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10)-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1); ubiquitin; CCCP, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone; CDK2, cyclin-dependent kinase 2; GSK3β, glycogen synthase kinase-3β; HEK, human embryonic kidney; HOIL1, haem-oxidized IRP2 (iron-regulatory protein 2) ubiquitin ligase 1; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; IKK, IκB (inhibitor of nuclear factor κB) kinase; ISG15, interferon-induced 17 kDa protein; MBP, maltose-binding protein; MLK1, mixed lineage kinase 1; Nedd8, neural-precursor-cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated 8; Ni-NTA, Ni2+-nitrilotriacetate; NUAK1, NUAK family SNF1-like kinase 1; OTU1, OTU (ovarian tumour) domain-containing protein 1; PD, Parkinson’s disease; PINK1, PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10)-induced putative kinase 1; PLK1, Polo-like kinase 1; SILAC, stable isotope labelling by amino acids in cell culture; SUMO, small ubiquitin-related modifier; TCEP, tris-(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine; TcPINK1, Tribolium castaneum PINK1; Ubl, ubiquitin-like
2.  The WNK-regulated SPAK/OSR1 kinases directly phosphorylate and inhibit the K+–Cl− co-transporters 
Biochemical Journal  2014;458(Pt 3):559-573.
Precise homoeostasis of the intracellular concentration of Cl− is achieved via the co-ordinated activities of the Cl− influx and efflux. We demonstrate that the WNK (WNK lysine-deficient protein kinase)-activated SPAK (SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase)/OSR1 (oxidative stress-responsive kinase 1) known to directly phosphorylate and stimulate the N[K]CCs (Na+–K+ ion co-transporters), also promote inhibition of the KCCs (K+–Cl− co-transporters) by directly phosphorylating a recently described C-terminal threonine residue conserved in all KCC isoforms [Site-2 (Thr1048)]. First, we demonstrate that SPAK and OSR1, in the presence of the MO25 regulatory subunit, robustly phosphorylates all KCC isoforms at Site-2 in vitro. Secondly, STOCK1S-50699, a WNK pathway inhibitor, suppresses SPAK/OSR1 activation and KCC3A Site-2 phosphorylation with similar efficiency. Thirdly, in ES (embryonic stem) cells lacking SPAK/OSR1 activity, endogenous phosphorylation of KCC isoforms at Site-2 is abolished and these cells display elevated basal activity of 86Rb+ uptake that was not markedly stimulated further by hypotonic high K+ conditions, consistent with KCC3A activation. Fourthly, a tight correlation exists between SPAK/OSR1 activity and the magnitude of KCC3A Site-2 phosphorylation. Lastly, a Site-2 alanine KCC3A mutant preventing SPAK/OSR1 phosphorylation exhibits increased activity. We also observe that KCCs are directly phosphorylated by SPAK/OSR1, at a novel Site-3 (Thr5 in KCC1/KCC3 and Thr6 in KCC2/KCC4), and a previously recognized KCC3-specific residue, Site-4 (Ser96). These data demonstrate that the WNK-regulated SPAK/OSR1 kinases directly phosphorylate the N[K]CCs and KCCs, promoting their stimulation and inhibition respectively. Given these reciprocal actions with anticipated net effects of increasing Cl− influx, we propose that the targeting of WNK–SPAK/OSR1 with kinase inhibitors might be a novel potent strategy to enhance cellular Cl− extrusion, with potential implications for the therapeutic modulation of epithelial and neuronal ion transport in human disease states.
WNK-regulated SPAK/OSR1 act as direct phosphorylators and major regulators of the KCC isoforms, which explains how activation of the WNK signalling pathway can co-ordinately regulate Cl− influx and efflux by reciprocally controlling the SLC12A family N[K]CC and KCC isoforms.
doi:10.1042/BJ20131478
PMCID: PMC3940040  PMID: 24393035
γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA); blood pressure/hypertension; ion homoeostasis; K+–Cl− co-transporter 2 (KCC2); K+–Cl− co-transporter 3 (KCC3); Na+–Cl− co-transporter (NCC); Na+–K+–2Cl− co-transporter 1 (NKCC1); protein kinase; signal transduction; CCC, cation–Cl− co-transporter; CCT, conserved C-terminal; CTD, C-terminal cytoplasmic domain; ERK1, extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1; ES, embryonic stem; HEK, human embryonic kidney; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; KCC, K+–Cl− co-transporter; LDS, lithium dodecyl sulfate; NCC, Na+–Cl− co-transporter; N[K]CC, Na+–K+ ion co-transporter; NKCC, Na+–K+–2Cl− co-transporter; NTD, N-terminal cytoplasmic domain; OSR1, oxidative stress-responsive kinase 1; SLC12, solute carrier family 12; SPAK, SPS1-related proline/alanine-rich kinase; TTBS, Tris-buffered saline containing Tween 20; WNK, WNK lysine-deficient protein kinase; XIC, extracted ion chromatogram
3.  Protein associated with SMAD1 (PAWS1/FAM83G) is a substrate for type I bone morphogenetic protein receptors and modulates bone morphogenetic protein signalling 
Open Biology  2014;4(2):130210.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) control multiple cellular processes in embryos and adult tissues. BMPs signal through the activation of type I BMP receptor kinases, which then phosphorylate SMADs 1/5/8. In the canonical pathway, this triggers the association of these SMADs with SMAD4 and their translocation to the nucleus, where they regulate gene expression. BMPs can also signal independently of SMAD4, but this pathway is poorly understood. Here, we report the discovery and characterization of PAWS1/FAM83G as a novel SMAD1 interactor. PAWS1 forms a complex with SMAD1 in a SMAD4-independent manner, and BMP signalling induces the phosphorylation of PAWS1 through BMPR1A. The phosphorylation of PAWS1 in response to BMP is essential for activation of the SMAD4-independent BMP target genes NEDD9 and ASNS. Our findings identify PAWS1 as the first non-SMAD substrate for type I BMP receptor kinases and as a novel player in the BMP pathway. We also demonstrate that PAWS1 regulates the expression of several non-BMP target genes, suggesting roles for PAWS1 beyond the BMP pathway.
doi:10.1098/rsob.130210
PMCID: PMC3938053  PMID: 24554596
bone morphogenetic protein; SMAD1; FAM83G; PAWS1; ALK3; BMPR1
4.  PINK1 is activated by mitochondrial membrane potential depolarization and stimulates Parkin E3 ligase activity by phosphorylating Serine 65 
Open Biology  2012;2(5):120080.
Summary
Missense mutations in PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) cause autosomal-recessive inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). We have exploited our recent discovery that recombinant insect PINK1 is catalytically active to test whether PINK1 directly phosphorylates 15 proteins encoded by PD-associated genes as well as proteins reported to bind PINK1. We have discovered that insect PINK1 efficiently phosphorylates only one of these proteins, namely the E3 ligase Parkin. We have mapped the phosphorylation site to a highly conserved residue within the Ubl domain of Parkin at Ser65. We show that human PINK1 is specifically activated by mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) depolarization, enabling it to phosphorylate Parkin at Ser65. We further show that phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 leads to marked activation of its E3 ligase activity that is prevented by mutation of Ser65 or inactivation of PINK1. We provide evidence that once activated, PINK1 autophosphorylates at several residues, including Thr257, which is accompanied by an electrophoretic mobility band-shift. These results provide the first evidence that PINK1 is activated following Δψm depolarization and suggest that PINK1 directly phosphorylates and activates Parkin. Our findings indicate that monitoring phosphorylation of Parkin at Ser65 and/or PINK1 at Thr257 represent the first biomarkers for examining activity of the PINK1-Parkin signalling pathway in vivo. Our findings also suggest that small molecule activators of Parkin that mimic the effect of PINK1 phosphorylation may confer therapeutic benefit for PD.
doi:10.1098/rsob.120080
PMCID: PMC3376738  PMID: 22724072
PINK1; Parkin; Parkinson's disease
5.  Displacement affinity chromatography of protein phosphatase one (PP1) complexes 
BMC Biochemistry  2008;9:28.
Background
Protein phosphatase one (PP1) is a ubiquitously expressed, highly conserved protein phosphatase that dephosphorylates target protein serine and threonine residues. PP1 is localized to its site of action by interacting with targeting or regulatory proteins, a majority of which contains a primary docking site referred to as the RVXF/W motif.
Results
We demonstrate that a peptide based on the RVXF/W motif can effectively displace PP1 bound proteins from PP1 retained on the phosphatase affinity matrix microcystin-Sepharose. Subsequent co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed that each identified binding protein was either a direct PP1 interactor or was in a complex that contains PP1. Our results have linked PP1 to numerous new nuclear functions and proteins, including Ki-67, Rif-1, topoisomerase IIα, several nuclear helicases, NUP153 and the TRRAP complex.
Conclusion
This modification of the microcystin-Sepharose technique offers an effective means of purifying novel PP1 regulatory subunits and associated proteins and provides a simple method to uncover a link between PP1 and additional cellular processes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2091-9-28
PMCID: PMC2587467  PMID: 19000314
6.  The LKB1-salt-inducible kinase pathway functions as a key gluconeogenic suppressor in the liver 
Nature Communications  2014;5:4535.
LKB1 is a master kinase that regulates metabolism and growth through adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and 12 other closely related kinases. Liver-specific ablation of LKB1 causes increased glucose production in hepatocytes in vitro and hyperglycaemia in fasting mice in vivo. Here we report that the salt-inducible kinases (SIK1, 2 and 3), members of the AMPK-related kinase family, play a key role as gluconeogenic suppressors downstream of LKB1 in the liver. The selective SIK inhibitor HG-9-91-01 promotes dephosphorylation of transcriptional co-activators CRTC2/3 resulting in enhanced gluconeogenic gene expression and glucose production in hepatocytes, an effect that is abolished when an HG-9-91-01-insensitive mutant SIK is introduced or LKB1 is ablated. Although SIK2 was proposed as a key regulator of insulin-mediated suppression of gluconeogenesis, we provide genetic evidence that liver-specific ablation of SIK2 alone has no effect on gluconeogenesis and insulin does not modulate SIK2 phosphorylation or activity. Collectively, we demonstrate that the LKB1–SIK pathway functions as a key gluconeogenic gatekeeper in the liver.
The liver is an important regulator of glucose homeostasis. Here, the authors provide insight into the molecular signalling pathways controlling hepatic gluconeogenesis by showing that SIK protein kinases suppress gluconeogenesis, and that glucagon—but not insulin—regulates phosphorylation of SIK2.
doi:10.1038/ncomms5535
PMCID: PMC4143937  PMID: 25088745

Results 1-6 (6)