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M-phase-specific phosphorylation of the POU transcription factor GHF-1 by a cell cycle-regulated protein kinase inhibits DNA binding

AuthorsCaelles, Carme; Hennemann, Hanjo; Karin, Michael
Issue DateDec-1995
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitationMolecular and Cellular Biology 15(12): 6694-6701 (1995)
AbstractGHF-1 is a member of the POU family of homeodomain proteins. It is a cell-type-specific transcription factor responsible for determination and expansion of growth hormone (GH)- and prolactin-expressing cells in the anterior pituitary. It was previously suggested that cyclic AMP (cAMP)-responsive protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylates GHF-1 at a site within the N-terminal arm of its homeodomain, thereby inhibiting its binding to the GH promoter. These results, however, are inconsistent with the physiological stimulation of GH production by the cAMP pathway. As reported here, cAMP agonists and PKA do not inhibit GHF-1 activity in living cells and although they stimulate the phosphorylation of GHF-1, the inhibitory phosphoacceptor site within the homeodomain is not affected. Instead, this site, Thr-220, is subject to M-phase-specific phosphorylation. As a result, GHF-1 DNA binding activity is transiently inhibited during the M phase. This activity is regained once cells enter G1, a phase during which GHF-1 phosphorylation is minimal. Thr-220 of GHF-1 is the homolog of the mitotic phosphoacceptor site responsible for the M-phase-specific inhibition of Oct-1 DNA binding Ser-382. As this site is conserved in all POU proteins, it appears that all members of this group are similarly regulated. A specific kinase activity distinct in its substrate specificity and susceptibility to inhibitors from the Cdc2 mitotic kinase or PKA was identified in extracts of mitotic cells. This novel activity could be involved in regulating the DNA binding activity of all POU proteins in a cell cycle-dependent manner.
Description8 pages, 7 figures.
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