Protein kinases exert physiological functions through phosphorylating their specific substrates; however, the mode of kinase–substrate recognition is not fully understood. Rho-kinase is a Ser/Thr protein kinase that regulates cytoskeletal reorganization through phosphorylating myosin light chain (MLC) and the myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1) of MLC phosphatase (MLCP) and is involved in various diseases, due to its aberrant cellular contraction, morphology, and movement. Despite the importance of the prediction and identification of substrates and phosphorylation sites, understanding of the precise regularity in phosphorylation preference of Rho-kinase remains far from satisfactory. Here we analyzed the Rho-kinase–MYPT1 interaction, to understand the mode of Rho-kinase substrate recognition and found that the three short regions of MYPT1 close to phosphorylation sites (referred to as docking motifs (DMs); DM1 (DLQEAEKTIGRS), DM2 (KSQPKSIRERRRPR), and DM3 (RKARSRQAR)) are important for interactions with Rho-kinase. The phosphorylation levels of MYPT1 without DMs were reduced, and the effects were limited to the neighboring phosphorylation sites. We further demonstrated that the combination of pseudosubstrate (PS) and DM of MYPT1 (PS1 + DM3 and PS2 + DM2) serves as a potent inhibitor of Rho-kinase. The present information will be useful in identifying new substrates and developing selective Rho-kinase inhibitors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology