Structural basis for the regulation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase p38α by the dual specificity phosphatase 16 MAP kinase binding domain in solution

Kumar, G.S.; Zettl, H.; Page, R.; Peti, W.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 288(39): 28347-28356


ISSN/ISBN: 1083-351X
PMID: 23926106
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m113.499178
Accession: 055948855

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Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) fulfill essential biological functions and are key pharmaceutical targets. Regulation of MAPKs is achieved via a plethora of regulatory proteins including activating MAPKKs and an abundance of deactivating phosphatases. Although all regulatory proteins use an identical interaction site on MAPKs, the common docking and hydrophobic pocket, they use distinct kinase interaction motif (KIM or D-motif) sequences that are present in linear, peptide-like, or well folded protein domains. It has been recently shown that a KIM-containing MAPK-specific dual specificity phosphatase DUSP10 uses a unique binding mode to interact with p38α. Here we describe the interaction of the MAPK binding domain of DUSP16 with p38α and show that despite belonging to the same dual specificity phosphatase (DUSP) family, its interaction mode differs from that of DUSP10. Indeed, the DUSP16 MAPK binding domain uses an additional helix, α-helix 4, to further engage p38α. This leads to an additional interaction surface on p38α. Together, these structural and energetic differences in p38α engagement highlight the fine-tuning necessary to achieve MAPK specificity and regulation among multiple regulatory proteins.