Protein functions are determined by their three-dimensional structures and the folded 3-D structure is in turn governed by the primary structure and post-translational modifications the protein undergoes during synthesis and transport. Defining protein functions in vivo in the cellular and extracellular environments is made very difficult in the presence of other molecules. However, the modifications taking place during and after protein folding are determined by the modification potential of amino acids and not by the primary structure or sequence. These post-translational modifications, like phosphorylation and O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modifications, are dynamic and result in temporary conformational changes that regulate many functions of the protein. Computer-assisted studies can help determining protein functions by assessing the modification potentials of a given protein. Integrins are important membrane receptors involved in bi-directional (outside-in and inside-out) signaling events. The beta3 integrin family, including, alpha(IIb)beta3 and alpha(v)beta3, has been studied for its role in platelet aggregation during clot formation and clot retraction based on hydroxyl group modification by phosphate and GlcNAc on Ser, Thr, or Tyr and their interplay on Ser and Thr in the cytoplasmic domain of the beta3 subunit. An antagonistic role of phosphate and GlcNAc interplay at Thr758 for controlling both inside-out and outside-in signaling events is proposed. Additionally, interplay of GlcNAc and phosphate at Ser752 has been proposed to control activation and inactivation of integrin-associated Src kinases. This study describes the multifunctional behavior of integrins based on their modification potential at hydroxyl groups of amino acids as a source of interplay.
2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.