Characterization of a protein kinase that phosphorylates serine 189 of the mitogen-activated protein kinase homolog ERK3

Mangeng Cheng, Erzhen Zhen, Megan J. Robinson, Doug Ebert, Elizabeth Goldsmith, Melanie H. Cobb

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A novel protein kinase activity present in nuclear and cytosolic extracts has been identified and partially purified as a consequence of its tight binding to and phosphorylation of the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) 3. This novel protein kinase is inactivated by treatment with phosphoprotein phosphatase 2A. The ERK3 protein kinase was immunologically distinct from mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase/ERK kinases (MEK) 1 and 2 which phosphorylate the ERK3-related MAP kinases ERK1 and ERK2. This ERK3 kinase phosphorylated a single site on ERK3, Ser189, comparable to Thr183, one of the two activating phosphorylation sites of ERK2. To test the specificity of the ERK3 kinase, mutants of ERK3 and ERK2 were made in which the phosphorylated residues were exchanged. The double mutant S189T,G191Y ERK3, in which the phosphorylated residues from ERK2 replaced the comparable residues in ERK3, was phosphorylated by the ERK3 kinase but only on threonine. The ERK3 kinase did not phosphorylate ERK2 or ERK2 mutants. These findings indicate that although the ERK3 kinase is highly specific for ERK3, it does not recognize tyrosine, a feature that distinguishes it from MEKs that phosphorylate other ERK/MAP kinase family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12057-12062
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jun 3 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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