Molecular and cellular biology

Mechanisms of p34cdc2 regulation.

PMID 8441405


The kinase activity of human p34cdc2 is negatively regulated by phosphorylation at Thr-14 and Tyr-15. These residues lie within the putative nucleotide binding domain of p34cdc2. It has been proposed that phosphorylation within this motif ablates the binding of ATP to the active site of p34cdc2, thereby inhibiting p34cdc2 kinase activity (K. Gould and P. Nurse, Nature [London] 342:39-44, 1989). To understand the mechanism of this inactivation, various forms of p34cdc2 were tested for the ability to bind nucleotide. The active site of p34cdc2 was specifically modified by the MgATP analog 5'-p-fluorosulfonylbenzoyladenosine (FSBA). The apparent Km for modification of wild-type, monomeric p34cdc2 was 148 microM FSBA and was not significantly affected by association with cyclin B. Tyrosine-phosphorylated p34cdc2 was modified by FSBA with a slightly higher Km (241 microM FSBA). FSBA modification of both tyrosine-phosphorylated and unphosphorylated p34cdc2 was competitively inhibited by ATP, and half-maximal inhibition in each case occurred at approximately 250 microM ATP. In addition to being negatively regulated by phosphorylation, the kinase activity of p34cdc2 was positively regulated by the cyclin-dependent phosphorylation of Thr-161. Mutation of p34cdc2 at Thr-161 resulted in the formation of an enzymatically inactive p34cdc2/cyclin B complex both in vivo and in vitro. However, mutation of Thr-161 did not significantly affect the ability of p34cdc2 to bind nucleotide (FSBA). Taken together, these results indicate that inhibition of p34cdc2 kinase activity by phosphorylation of Tyr-15 (within the putative ATP binding domain) or by mutation of Thr-161 involves a mechanism other than inhibition of nucleotide binding. We propose instead that the defect resides at the level of catalysis.