Mitotic regulation of ribosomal S6 kinase 1 involves Ser/Thr, Pro phosphorylation of consensus and non-consensus sites by Cdc2

J Biol Chem. 2003 May 2;278(18):16433-42. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M300435200. Epub 2003 Feb 13.


During mitosis, the cyclin-dependent kinase, Cdc2, signals the inactivation of major anabolic processes such as transcription, mRNA processing, translation, and ribosome biogenesis, thereby providing energy needed for the radical and energetically costly structural reorganization of the cell. This is accomplished by phosphorylation and inactivation of several key anabolic elements, including TFIIIB, TFIID, RNA polymerase II, poly(A) polymerase, and translation elongation factor 1gamma. We report here that ribosomal S6 kinase 1 (S6K1), a protein kinase linked to the translation of ribosomal protein mRNAs, is also subject to regulation by Cdc2 in mitosis. In mitotic HeLa cells, when the activity of Cdc2 is high, S6K1 is phosphorylated at multiple Ser/Thr, Pro (S/TP) sites, including Ser(371), Ser(411), Thr(421), and Ser(424). Concomitant with this, the phosphorylation of the hydrophobic motif site, Thr(389), is reduced resulting in a decrease in the specific activity of S6K1. The mitotic S/TP phosphorylation sites are readily phosphorylated by Cdc2.cyclin B in vitro. These proline-directed phosphorylations are sensitive to chemical inhibitors of Cdc2 but not to inhibitors of mammalian target of rapamycin, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, MEK1/2, or p38. In murine FT210 cells arrested in mitosis, conditional inactivation of Cdc2 reduces phosphorylation of S6K1 at S/TP sites while simultaneously increasing phosphorylation of Thr(389) and of the S6K1 substrate, RPS6. A physical interaction exists between Cdc2 and S6K1, and this interaction is enhanced in mitotic cells. These results suggest that Cdc2 provides a signal that triggers inactivation of S6K1 in mitosis, presumably serving to spare energy for costly mitotic processes at the expense of ribosomal protein synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • CDC2 Protein Kinase / physiology*
  • G2 Phase
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitosis*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proline
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / chemistry
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / metabolism*
  • Serine
  • Threonine


  • Threonine
  • Serine
  • Proline
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase