Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications
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ItemAllosteric networks governing regulation and catalysis of Src-family protein tyrosine kinases: Implications for disease-associated kinasesCheng, H-C ; Johnson, TM ; Mills, RD ; Chong, Y-P ; Chan, K-C ; Culvenor, JG (WILEY, 2010-01-01)1. The Src-family protein tyrosine kinases (SFKs) are multidomain oncogenic protein tyrosine kinases. Their overactivation contributes to cancer formation and progression. Thus, synthetic inhibitors of SFKs are being developed as therapeutics for cancer treatment. Understanding the regulatory and catalytic mechanisms of SFKs is necessary for the development of therapeutic SFK inhibitors. 2. Although many upstream regulators and protein substrates of SFKs have been identified, both the mechanisms of activation and catalysis of SFKs are not fully understood. In particular, it is still unclear how the inactive SFKs undergo conformational transition during activation. The mechanism governing the binding of substrates and the release of products during catalysis is another area that requires investigation. 3. Several recent publications indicate the presence of a 'hydrophobic spine' formed by four conserved interacting hydrophobic residues in the kinase domain of SFKs. In the present review, we discuss how the assembly and disassembly of the hydrophobic spine residues may govern conformational transition of SFKs during activation. In addition to regulation of kinase activity, the hydrophobic spine is implicated to be involved in catalysis. It has been postulated recently that perturbation of the hydrophobic spine residues is a key step in catalysis. 4. Further investigations to decipher the roles of the hydrophobic spine residues in regulation and catalysis of SFKs will benefit the development of therapeutic SFK inhibitors for cancer treatment.
ItemDefining the Substrate Specificity Determinants Recognized by the Active Site of C-Terminal Src Kinase-Homologous Kinase (CHK) and Identification of beta-Synuclein as a Potential CHK Physiological SubstrateIa, KK ; Jeschke, GR ; Deng, Y ; Kamaruddin, MA ; Williamson, NA ; Scanlon, DB ; Culvenor, JG ; Hossain, MI ; Purcell, AW ; Liu, S ; Zhu, H-J ; Catimel, B ; Turk, BE ; Cheng, H-C (AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2011-08-09)C-Terminal Src kinase-homologous kinase (CHK) exerts its tumor suppressor function by phosphorylating the C-terminal regulatory tyrosine of the Src-family kinases (SFKs). The phosphorylation suppresses their activity and oncogenic action. In addition to phosphorylating SFKs, CHK also performs non-SFK-related functions by phosphorylating other cellular protein substrates. To define these non-SFK-related functions of CHK, we used the "kinase substrate tracking and elucidation" method to search for its potential physiological substrates in rat brain cytosol. Our search revealed β-synuclein as a potential CHK substrate, and Y127 in β-synuclein as the preferential phosphorylation site. Using peptides derived from β-synuclein and positional scanning combinatorial peptide library screening, we defined the optimal substrate phosphorylation sequence recognized by the CHK active site to be E-x-[Φ/E/D]-Y-Φ-x-Φ, where Φ and x represent hydrophobic residues and any residue, respectively. Besides β-synuclein, cellular proteins containing motifs resembling this sequence are potential CHK substrates. Intriguingly, the CHK-optimal substrate phosphorylation sequence bears little resemblance to the C-terminal tail sequence of SFKs, indicating that interactions between the CHK active site and the local determinants near the C-terminal regulatory tyrosine of SFKs play only a minor role in governing specific phosphorylation of SFKs by CHK. Our results imply that recognition of SFKs by CHK is mainly governed by interactions between motifs located distally from the active site of CHK and determinants spatially separate from the C-terminal regulatory tyrosine in SFKs. Thus, besides assisting in the identification of potential CHK physiological substrates, our findings shed new light on how CHK recognizes SFKs and other protein substrates.
ItemAnalysis of LRRK2 accessory repeat domains: prediction of repeat length, number and sites of Parkinson's disease mutationsMILLS, R ; Mulhern, TD ; Cheng, HC ; Culvenor, JG ( 2012)Various investigators have identified the major domain organization of LRRK2 (leucine-rich repeat kinase 2), which includes a GTPase ROC (Ras of complex proteins) domain followed by a COR (C-terminal of ROC) domain and a protein kinase domain. In addition, there are four domains composed of structural repeat motifs likely to be involved in regulation and localization of this complex protein. In the present paper, we report our bioinformatic analyses of the human LRRK2 amino acid sequence to predict the repeat size, number and likely boundaries for the armadillo repeat, ankyrin repeat, the leucine-rich repeat and WD40 repeat regions of LRRK2. Homology modelling using known protein structures with similar domains was used to predict structures, exposed residues and location of mutations for these repeat regions. We predict that the armadillo repeats, ankyrin repeats and leucine-rich repeats together form an extended N-terminal flexible 'solenoid'-like structure composed of tandem repeat modules likely to be important in anchoring to the membrane and cytoskeletal structures as well as binding to other protein ligands. Near the C-terminus of LRRK2, the WD40 repeat region is predicted to form a closed propeller structure that is important for protein complex formation.
ItemAnalysis of the Regulatory and Catalytic Domains of PTEN-Induced Kinase-1 (PINK1)Sim, CH ; Gabriel, K ; Mills, RD ; Culvenor, JG ; Cheng, H-C (WILEY, 2012-10-01)Mutations of the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) gene can cause early-onset familial Parkinson disease (PD). PINK1 encodes a neuroprotective protein kinase localized at the mitochondria, and its involvement in regulating mitochondrial dynamics, trafficking, structure, and function is well documented. Owing to the lack of information on structure and biochemical properties for PINK1, exactly how PINK1 exerts its neuroprotective function and how the PD-causative mutations impact on PINK1 structure and function remain unclear. As an approach to address these questions, we conducted bioinformatic analyses of the mitochondrial targeting, the transmembrane, and kinase domains of PINK1 to predict the motifs governing its regulation and function. Our report sheds light on how PINK1 is targeted to the mitochondria and how PINK1 is cleaved by mitochondrial peptidases. Moreover, it includes a potential optimal phosphorylation sequence preferred by the PINK1 kinase domain. On the basis of the results of our analyses, we predict how the PD-causative mutations affect processing of PINK1 in the mitochondria, PINK1 kinase activity, and substrate specificity. In summary, our results provide a conceptual framework for future investigation of the structural and biochemical basis of regulation and the neuroprotective mechanism of PINK1.