A tale of two metallophosphatases: biochemical and functional characterization of novel substrates of PP1 and MESH1
Addition and removal of phosphate is an important post-translational modification involved in cellular signaling. The enzymes responsible for removing this phosphorylation mark, called phosphatases, play a vital role in the cellular decision making processes. In this work we discuss two discoveries, a novel enzyme for a known signaling function involving control of transcription and a novel target for an important cellular stress response enzyme.
In the first project we sought to determine a novel enzyme responsible for dephosphorylating the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II. This domain serves as a vital signaling platform for transcription of mammalian genes, with the ability to recruit cofactors that bind to specific patterns of phosphorylation throughout its repeating amino acid sequence. Using a functional assay for phosphatase activity at the Thr4 position we biochemically isolated the unknown enzyme and identified it as PP1 and validated its function in vitro and in vivo.
The second phosphatase studied in this dissertation is MESH1—a mammalian ortholog of the bacterial stringent response protein SpoT that dephosphorylates ppGpp. Because ppGpp is absent in mammalian cells MESH1 lacks a viable target. We established NADPH as a substrate of MESH1 biochemically and corroborated these results by determining the substrate bound structure. Our results reveal a novel regulatory role of MESH1 in a pathway that resembles the bacterial stringent response.
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