Protein kinases have evolved diverse specificities to enable cellular information processing. To gain insight into the mechanisms underlying kinase diversification, we studied the CMGC protein kinases using ancestral reconstruction. Within this group, the cyclin dependent kinases (CDKs) and mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs), require proline at the +1 position of their substrates, while Ime2 prefers arginine. The resurrected common ancestor of CDKs, MAPKs and Ime2 could phosphorylate substrates with +1 proline or arginine, with preference for proline. This specificity changed to a strong preference for +1 arginine in the lineage leading to Ime2 via an intermediate with equal specificity for proline and arginine. Mutant analysis revealed that a variable residue within the kinase catalytic cleft, DFGx, modulates +1 specificity. Expansion of Ime2 kinase specificity by mutation of this residue did not cause dominant deleterious effects in vivo. Tolerance of cells to new specificities likely enabled the evolutionary divergence of kinases.
- James Ferrell, Stanford University, United States
- Received: July 23, 2014
- Accepted: October 9, 2014
- Accepted Manuscript published: October 13, 2014 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: October 14, 2014 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: November 12, 2014 (version 3)
- Version of Record updated: April 29, 2016 (version 4)
- Version of Record updated: August 5, 2016 (version 5)
© 2014, Howard et al.
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The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1) are central kinase modules of two opposing signaling pathways that control eukaryotic cell growth and metabolism in response to the availability of energy and nutrients. Accordingly, energy depletion activates AMPK to inhibit growth, while nutrients and high energy levels activate TORC1 to promote growth. Both in mammals and lower eukaryotes such as yeast, the AMPK and TORC1 pathways are wired to each other at different levels, which ensures homeostatic control of growth and metabolism. In this context, a previous study (Hughes Hallet et. al, 2015) reported that AMPK in yeast, i.e. Snf1, prevents the transient TORC1 reactivation during the early phase following acute glucose starvation, but the underlying mechanism has remained elusive. Using a combination of unbiased mass spectrometry (MS)-based phosphoproteomics, genetic, biochemical, and physiological experiments, we show here that Snf1 temporally maintains TORC1 inactive in glucose-starved cells primarily through the TORC1-regulatory protein Pib2. Our data, therefore, extend the function of Pib2 to a hub that integrates both glucose and, as reported earlier, glutamine signals to control TORC1. We further demonstrate that Snf1 phosphorylates the TORC1 effector kinase Sch9 within its N-terminal region and thereby antagonizes the phosphorylation of a C-terminal TORC1-target residue within Sch9 itself that is critical for its activity. The consequences of Snf1-mediated phosphorylation of Pib2 and Sch9 are physiologically additive and sufficient to explain the role of Snf1 in short-term inhibition of TORC1 in acutely glucose-starved cells.
Self-cleaving ribozymes are RNA molecules that catalyze the cleavage of their own phosphodiester backbones. These ribozymes are found in all domains of life and are also a tool for biotechnical and synthetic biology applications. Self-cleaving ribozymes are also an important model of sequence-to-function relationships for RNA because their small size simplifies synthesis of genetic variants and self-cleaving activity is an accessible readout of the functional consequence of the mutation. Here, we used a high-throughput experimental approach to determine the relative activity for every possible single and double mutant of five self-cleaving ribozymes. From this data, we comprehensively identified non-additive effects between pairs of mutations (epistasis) for all five ribozymes. We analyzed how changes in activity and trends in epistasis map to the ribozyme structures. The variety of structures studied provided opportunities to observe several examples of common structural elements, and the data was collected under identical experimental conditions to enable direct comparison. Heatmap-based visualization of the data revealed patterns indicating structural features of the ribozymes including paired regions, unpaired loops, non-canonical structures, and tertiary structural contacts. The data also revealed signatures of functionally critical nucleotides involved in catalysis. The results demonstrate that the data sets provide structural information similar to chemical or enzymatic probing experiments, but with additional quantitative functional information. The large-scale data sets can be used for models predicting structure and function and for efforts to engineer self-cleaving ribozymes.