Regulation of Ste20-like kinase, SLK, activity: Dimerization and activation segment phosphorylationReport as inadecuate

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The Ste20-like kinase, SLK, has diverse cellular functions. SLK mediates organ development, cell cycle progression, cytoskeletal remodeling, cytokinesis, and cell survival. Expression and activity of SLK are enhanced in renal ischemia-reperfusion injury, and overexpression of SLK was shown to induce apoptosis in cultured glomerular epithelial cells GECs and renal tubular cells, as well as GEC-podocyte injury in vivo. The SLK protein consists of a N-terminal catalytic domain and an extensive C-terminal domain, which contains coiled-coils. The present study addresses the regulation of SLK activity. Controlled dimerization of the SLK catalytic domain enhanced autophosphorylation of SLK at T183 and S189, which are located in the activation segment. The full-length ectopically- and endogenously-expressed SLK was also autophosphorylated at T183 and S189. Using ezrin as a model SLK substrate to address exogenous kinase activity, we demonstrate that dimerized SLK 1–373 or full-length SLK can effectively induce activation-specific phosphorylation of ezrin. Mutations in SLK, including T183A, S189A or T193A reduced T183 or S189 autophosphorylation, and showed a greater reduction in ezrin phosphorylation. Mutations in the coiled-coil region of full-length SLK that impair dimerization, in particular I848G, significantly reduced ezrin phosphorylation and tended to reduce autophosphorylation of SLK at T183. In experimental membranous nephropathy in rats, proteinuria and GEC-podocyte injury were associated with increased glomerular SLK activity and ezrin phosphorylation. In conclusion, dimerization via coiled-coils and phosphorylation of T183, S189 and T193 play key roles in the activation and signaling of SLK, and provide targets for novel therapeutic approaches.

Author: Andrey V. Cybulsky , Julie Guillemette, Joan Papillon, Nihad T. Abouelazm



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