The Ser/Thr protein kinase PINK1 phosphorylates the well-folded, globular protein ubiquitin (Ub) at a relatively protected site, Ser65. We previously showed that Ser65 phosphorylation results in a conformational change in which Ub adopts a dynamic equilibrium between the known, common Ub conformation and a distinct, second conformation wherein the last β-strand is retracted to extend the Ser65 loop and shorten the C-terminal tail. We show using chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) nuclear magnetic resonance experiments that a similar, C-terminally retracted (Ub-CR) conformation also exists at low population in wild-type Ub. Point mutations in the moving β5 and neighbouring β-strands shift the Ub/Ub-CR equilibrium. This enabled functional studies of the two states, and we show that while the Ub-CR conformation is defective for conjugation, it demonstrates improved binding to PINK1 through its extended Ser65 loop, and is a superior PINK1 substrate. Together our data suggest that PINK1 utilises a lowly populated yet more suitable Ub-CR conformation of Ub for efficient phosphorylation. Our findings could be relevant for many kinases that phosphorylate residues in folded protein domains.
- Parkinson's disease
- nuclear magnetic resonance
- ubiquitin phosphorylation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)