Identification of direct tyrosine kinase substrates based on protein kinase assay-linked phosphoproteomics

Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 Oct;12(10):2969-80. doi: 10.1074/mcp.O113.027722. Epub 2013 Jun 22.


Protein kinases are implicated in multiple diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and central nervous system disorders. Identification of kinase substrates is critical to dissecting signaling pathways and to understanding disease pathologies. However, methods and techniques used to identify bona fide kinase substrates have remained elusive. Here we describe a proteomic strategy suitable for identifying kinase specificity and direct substrates in high throughput. This approach includes an in vitro kinase assay-based substrate screening and an endogenous kinase dependent phosphorylation profiling. In the in vitro kinase reaction route, a pool of formerly phosphorylated proteins is directly extracted from whole cell extracts, dephosphorylated by phosphatase treatment, after which the kinase of interest is added. Quantitative proteomics identifies the rephosphorylated proteins as direct substrates in vitro. In parallel, the in vivo quantitative phosphoproteomics is performed in which cells are treated with or without the kinase inhibitor. Together, proteins phosphorylated in vitro overlapping with the kinase-dependent phosphoproteome in vivo represents the physiological direct substrates in high confidence. The protein kinase assay-linked phosphoproteomics was applied to identify 25 candidate substrates of the protein-tyrosine kinase SYK, including a number of known substrates and many novel substrates in human B cells. These shed light on possible new roles for SYK in multiple important signaling pathways. The results demonstrate that this integrated proteomic approach can provide an efficient strategy to screen direct substrates for protein tyrosine kinases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Syk Kinase


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • SYK protein, human
  • Syk Kinase