Evolution has often copied and repurposed the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling module. Understanding how connections form during evolution, in disease and across individuals requires knowledge of the basic tenets that govern kinase-substrate interactions. We identify criteria sufficient for establishing regulatory links between a MAPK and a non-native substrate. The yeast MAPK Fus3 and human MAPK ERK2 can be functionally redirected if only two conditions are met: the kinase and substrate contain matching interaction domains and the substrate includes a phospho-motif that can be phosphorylated by the kinase and recruit a downstream effector. We used a panel of interaction domains and phosphorylation-activated degradation motifs to demonstrate modular and scalable retargeting. We applied our approach to reshape the signaling behavior of an existing kinase pathway. Together, our results demonstrate that a MAPK can be largely defined by its interaction domains and compatible phospho-motifs and provide insight into how MAPK-substrate connections form.
- Georg Seelig
- Benjamin Groves
- Georg Seelig
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ivan Dikic, Goethe University Medical School, Germany
© 2016, Groves et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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Heat shock induces a conserved transcriptional program regulated by heat shock factor 1 (Hsf1) in eukaryotic cells. Activation of this heat shock response is triggered by heat-induced misfolding of newly synthesized polypeptides, and so has been thought to depend on ongoing protein synthesis. Here, using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we report the discovery that Hsf1 can be robustly activated when protein synthesis is inhibited, so long as cells undergo cytosolic acidification. Heat shock has long been known to cause transient intracellular acidification which, for reasons which have remained unclear, is associated with increased stress resistance in eukaryotes. We demonstrate that acidification is required for heat shock response induction in translationally inhibited cells, and specifically affects Hsf1 activation. Physiological heat-triggered acidification also increases population fitness and promotes cell cycle reentry following heat shock. Our results uncover a previously unknown adaptive dimension of the well-studied eukaryotic heat shock response.
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