Global profiling of protein kinase activities in cancer cells by mass spectrometry

J Proteomics. 2012 Dec 21:77:492-503. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2012.09.029. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Protein kinases have important functions in the control of cell biology and are implicated in several diseases including cancer. Here we describe a technique to quantify protein kinase activity in a global fashion and without preconception of the kinases that may be active in the cell or tissue under investigation. In Global Kinase Activity Profiling (GKAP), protein kinases present in experimental cell lysates phosphorylate endogenous substrates, also present in the lysate, under defined conditions. Reaction products are then quantified using standard phosphoproteomic techniques based on LC-MS/MS. The technique thus allows measuring the combined activities of kinases targeting common substrates, which are detected as phosphopeptides by LC-MS/MS. Almost four hundred kinase reactions could be quantified in a human epithelial cell line, 177 of which increased in response to EGF treatment while others decreased in cells exposed to the kinase inhibitors LY294002 or U0126. GKAP also detected marked differences in the patterns of kinase activities in human leukemia cell lines with different sensitivities to kinase inhibitors. These results reveal that GKAP detects and quantifies hundreds of kinase activities modulated by growth factors or pharmacological inhibitors, and that these activities correlate with the phenotypes of cancer cells and their responses to kinase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Butadienes / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nitriles / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteome / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proteome / metabolism*


  • Butadienes
  • Chromones
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Morpholines
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nitriles
  • Proteome
  • U 0126
  • 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • Protein Kinases