Site-specific phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase after KCl depolarization and nerve growth factor treatment of PC12 cells

Jeffrey P. Mitchell, D. Grahame Hardie, Philip R Vulliet

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35 Scopus citations


The phosphorylation and activation of tyrosine hydroxylase was examined in PC 12 cells following depolarization with KCl or treatment with nerve growth factor. Both treatments activate tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and increase enzyme phosphorylation. Site-specific analysis of the tryptic phosphopeptides of TH isolated from [32P]phosphate-labeled PC 12 cells demonstrated that the major phosphorylated peptide (termed "H25") did not contain any of the previously reported phosphorylation sites. Phosphoamino acid analysis of this peptide demonstrated that the phosphorylated residue was a serine. Synthetic tryptic peptides containing putative phosphorylation sites were prepared, and subjected to high performance liquid chromatography analysis and isoelectric focusing. The tryptic phosphopeptide containing serine 31 comigrated with the H25 peptide during both of these analytical techniques. The tryptic phosphopeptide produced by the phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase by the recently discovered proline-directed protein kinase and the phosphorylated synthetic phosphopeptide TH2-12 are clearly separated from H25 by this analysis. We conclude that serine 31 is phosphorylated during KCl depolarization and nerve growth factor treatment of PC 12 cells and that this phosphorylation is responsible for the activation of tyrosine hydroxylase. Since this site is not located in a sequence selective for any of the "classical" protein kinases, we suggest that a novel protein kinase may be responsible for the phosphorylation of this site. Since serine 31 has a proline residue on the carboxyl-terminal side, the possibility that this kinase may be related to the recently reported proline-directed protein kinase is discussed. Other sites that are also phosphorylated on TH during KCl depolarization include serine 19, which is known to be phosphorylated by calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. A schematic model for the regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase activity by phosphorylation of the NH2-terminal regulatory domain is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22358-22364
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Dec 25 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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