Involvement of the Activation Loop of ERK in the Detachment from Cytosolic Anchoring

Author(s): Ido Wolf, Hadara Rubinfeld, Seunghee Yoon, Goldie Marmor, Tamar Hanoch, Rony Seger

The Extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) are translocated into the nucleus in response to mitogenic stimulation. The mechanism of translocation and the residues in ERKs that govern this process were not fully elucidated yet. Here we studied the involvement of residues in the activation loop of ERK2 in determining its subcellular localization. Substitution of residues in the activation loop to alanines indicated that residues 173-181 do not play a significant role in the phosphorylation and activation of ERK2. However, residues 176-181 are responsible for the detachment of ERK2 from MEK1 upon mitogenic stimulation. This dissociation can be mimicked by substitution of residues 176-178 to alanines, and is prevented by deletion of these residues or by substitution of residues 179-181 to alanines. On the other hand, residues 176-181, as well as residues essential for ERK2-dimerization, do not play a role in the shuttle of ERK2 through nuclear pores. Thus, phosphorylation-induced conformational rearrangement of residues in the activation loop of ERK2 plays a major role in the control of subcellular localization of this protein.

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