Identification of the anti-inflammatory protein tristetraprolin as a hyperphosphorylated protein by mass spectrometry and site-directed mutagenesis

Laboratories of Neurobiology and Signal Transduction, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.
Biochemical Journal (Impact Factor: 4.78). 03/2006; 394(Pt 1):285-97. DOI: 10.1042/BJ20051316
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Tristetraprolin (TTP) is a zinc-finger protein that binds to AREs (AU-rich elements) within certain mRNAs and causes destabilization of those mRNAs. Mice deficient in TTP develop a profound inflammatory syndrome with erosive arthritis, autoimmunity and myeloid hyperplasia. Previous studies showed that TTP is phosphorylated extensively in intact cells. However, limited information is available about the identities of these phosphorylation sites. We investigated the phosphorylation sites in human TTP from transfected HEK-293 cells by MS and site-directed mutagenesis. A number of phosphorylation sites including Ser66, Ser88, Thr92, Ser169, Ser186, Ser197, Ser218, Ser228, Ser276 and Ser296 were identified by MS analyses using MALDI (matrix-assisted laser-desorption-ionization)-MS, MALDI-tandem MS, LC (liquid chromatography)-tandem MS and multidimensional protein identification technology. Mutations of Ser197, Ser218 and Ser228 to alanine in the human protein significantly increased TTP's gel mobility (likely to be stoichiometric), whereas mutations at the other sites had little effect on its gel mobility. Dephosphorylation and in vivo labelling studies showed that mutant proteins containing multiple mutations were still phosphorylated, and all were able to bind to RNA probes containing AREs. Confocal microscopy showed a similar cytosolic localization of TTP among the various proteins. Ser197, Ser218 and Ser228 are predicted by motif scanning to be potential sites for protein kinase A, glycogen synthase kinase-3 and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1 (both Ser218 and Ser228) respectively. The present study has identified multiple phosphorylation sites in the anti-inflammatory protein TTP in mammalian cells and should provide the molecular basis for further studies on the function and regulation of TTP in controlling pro-inflammatory cytokines.

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Available from: Kenneth Tomer, Aug 26, 2015
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    • "These results suggest that PMA-induced differentiation of THP-1 cells activates TTP at multiple levels. Moreover, among p38 MAPK, MK2, and PKC, it has been predicted that TTP bears at least 10 high-probability in vivo sites for phosphorylation, which are potential sites for further kinases such as protein kinase A and B, glycogen synthase kinase-3, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and extracellular signalregulated kinases 1 and 2 (Cao et al., 2006). How these kinases (alone or in combination) influence TTP function regarding mRNA binding and modulation of mRNA fate remains to be elucidated. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a well-studied transcription factor mediating cellular adaptation to hypoxia. It also plays a crucial role under normoxic conditions, such as in inflammation, where its regulation is less well understood. The 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of HIF-1α mRNA is among the most conserved UTRs in the genome, hinting toward posttranscriptional regulation. To identify potential trans factors, we analyzed a large compilation of expression data. In contrast to its known function of being a negative regulator, we found that tristetraprolin (TTP) positively correlates with HIF-1 target genes. Mathematical modeling predicts that an additional level of posttranslational regulation of TTP can explain the observed positive correlation between TTP and HIF-1 signaling. Mechanistic studies revealed that TTP indeed changes its mode of regulation from destabilizing to stabilizing HIF-1α mRNA upon phosphorylation by p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/MAPK-activated protein kinase 2. Using a model of monocyte-to-macrophage differentiation, we show that TTP-driven HIF-1α mRNA stabilization is crucial for cell migration. This demonstrates the physiological importance of a hitherto-unknown mechanism for multilevel regulation of HIF-1α in normoxia.
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