Background: Arginine/serine (RS) repeats are found in several proteins in metazoans with a wide variety of functions, many of which are regulated by SR protein kinase 1 (SRPK1)-mediated phosphorylation. Lamin B receptor (LBR) is such a protein implicated in chromatin anchorage to the nuclear envelope.
Methods: Molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate the conformation of two LBR peptides containing four (human-) and five (turkey-orthologue) consecutive RS dipeptides, in their unphosphorylated and phosphorylated forms and of a conserved peptide, in isolation and in complex with SRPK1. GST pull-down assays were employed to study LBR interactions.
Results: Unphosphorylated RS repeats adopt short, transient helical conformations, whereas serine phosphorylation induces Arginine-claw-like structures. The SRSRSRSPGR peptide, overlapping with the LBR RS repeats, docks into the known, acidic docking groove of SRPK1, in an extended conformation. Phosphorylation by SRPK1 is necessary for the association of LBR with histone H3.
Conclusions: The C-terminal region of the LBR RS domain constitutes a recognition platform for SRPK1, which uses the same recognition mechanism for LBR as for substrates with long RS domains. This docking may promote unfolding of the RS repeats destined to be phosphorylated. Phosphorylation induces Arginine-claw-like conformations, irrespective of the RS-repeat length, that may facilitate interactions with basic partners.
General significance: Our results shed light on the conformational preferences of an important class of repeats before and after their phosphorylation and support the idea that even short RS domains may be constituents of recognition platforms for SRPK1, thus adding to knowledge towards a full understanding of their phosphorylation mechanism.
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