Identification of acidic amino acid residues in the protein kinase C alpha V5 domain that contribute to its insensitivity to diacylglycerol

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The protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms are maintained in an inactive and closed conformation by intramolecular interactions. Upon activation these are disrupted by activators, binding proteins and cellular membrane. We have seen that autophosphorylation of two sites in the C-terminal V5 domain is crucial to keep PKC alpha insensitive to the activator diacylglycerol, which presumably is caused by a masking of the diacylglycerol-binding C1a domain. Here we demonstrate that the diacylglycerol sensitivity of the PKC beta isoforms also is suppressed by autophosphorylation of the V5 sites. To analyze conformational differences, a fusion protein ECFP-PKC alpha-EYFP was expressed in cells and the FRET signal was analyzed. The analogous mutant with autophosphorylation sites exchanged for alanine gave rise to a substantially lower FRET signal than wild-type PKC alpha indicating a conformational difference elicited by the mutations. Expression of the isolated PKC alpha V5 domain led to increased diacylglycerol sensitivity of PKC alpha. We identified acidic residues in the V5 domain that, when mutated to alanines or lysines, rendered PKC alpha sensitive to diacylglycerol. Furthermore, mutation to glutamate of four lysines in a lysine-rich cluster in the C2 domain gave a similar effect. Simultaneous reversal of the charges of the acidic residues in the V5 and the lysines in the C2 domain gave rise to a PKC alpha that was insensitive to diacylglycerol. We propose that these structures participate in an intramolecular interaction that maintains PKC alpha in a closed conformation. The disruption of this interaction leads to an unmasking of the C1a domain and thereby increased diacylglycerol sensitivity of PKC alpha.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Hematology
  • Cancer and Oncology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28627-28638
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Tumour Cell Biology (013017530), Division of Molecular Medicine and Gene Therapy (013022010)