A protein kinase phosphorylation site in chicken gizzard myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) has been identified, and a synthetic peptide analogue of this site has been shown to be a high-affinity calmodulin binding peptide as well as a substrate for cyclic AMP dependent protein kinase. Phosphorylation of the site in MLCK is diminished when reactions are done in the presence of calmodulin. A fragment of MLCK containing the phosphorylation site was shown to have the amino acid sequence Ala-Arg-Arg-Lys-Trp-Gln-Lys-Thr-Gly-His-Ala-Val-Arg-Ala-Ile-Gly-Arg-Leu-Ser-Ser. The interaction of calmodulin with a synthetic peptide based on this sequence was characterized by using circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopies and inhibition of calmodulin activation of MLCK. The peptide-calmodulin complex had an estimated dissociation constant in the range of 1 nM, underwent spectroscopic changes in the presence of calmodulin consistent with the induction of an a-helical structure, and interacted with calmodulin with an apparent 1:1 stoichiometry. Studies with other synthetic peptide analogues indicated that the phosphorylation of the serine residues diminished the ability of the peptide to interact with calmodulin even though the serines are not required for calmodulin binding. On the basis of the primary and secondary structural characteristics of these peptide analogues, a potential calmodulin binding region in another calmodulin binding protein, the y subunit of rabbit skeletal muscle phosphorylase kinase, was identified. Overall, these studies provide a model for calmodulin binding domains in structurally diverse calmodulin binding proteins that contain clusters of basic residues within potential amphiphilic a-helical structures and provide a well-defined precedent for how a calmodulin binding domain and a phosphorylation site could be structurally related. A protein kinase phosphorylation site in chicken gizzard myosin light chain kinase (MLCK).
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