Anchoring and Scaffold Proteins for Kinases and Phosphatases

Linda B. Lester, John D. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Many hormones mediate their intracellular actions by triggering signal transduction pathways that alter the phosphorylation state of key regulatory proteins. Protein phosphorylation is a reversible process involving two classes of signaling enzymes: protein kinases, which catalyze the transfer of phosphate from ATP onto substrate proteins, and phosphoprotein phosphatases, which perform the dephosphorylation step. To insure tight control of hormonally initiated phosphorylation events, the activity of multifunctional kinases and phosphatases is precisely regulated and responds to fluctuations in diffusible second messengers such as Ca2+, phospholipid, and cAMP. Another mechanism that contributes to their regulation is to restrict the location of these enzymes to certain subcellular compartments. Subcellular targeting enhances the selectivity of serine/threonine phosphatases and kinases by favoring their accessibility to certain substrate proteins. Compartmentalization is achieved through a "targeting moiety," which is defined as that part of a phosphatase or kinase that directs the catalytic subunit to a certain subcellular environment. The targeting moiety restricts the location of a phosphatase or kinase through association with a "targeting locus." These are often structural membrane proteins, cytoskeletal components, or cellular organelles. Targeting subunits for the type I phosphatase and protein kinase C have been identified; however, the focus of this chapter centers around a family of anchoring proteins, called AKAPs, that localize the type II cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Structure-function analysis suggest that each anchoring protein binds to the RII dimer through a conserved amphipathic helix region and is tethered to specific subcellular sites via association of a targeting domain with structural proteins or cellular organelles. Peptides patterned after the amphipathic region have been used to probe the functional significance of PKA anchoring inside cells and have begun to be established by that disruption RII/AKAP interaction in vivo has concomitant effects on certain PKA-mediated phosphorylation events. In addition, multivalent binding proteins such as AKAP79 and AKAP250 have been characterized and appear to serve as platforms for the assembly of kinase/phosphatase signaling complexes. Collectively, these studies suggest that the AKAPs represent a growing family of regulatory proteins that provide a molecular architecture that organizes the intracellular location of a single or multiple multifunctional kinase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-429
Number of pages21
JournalRecent progress in hormone research
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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