The Significance of the Bifunctional Kinase/Phosphatase Activities of Diphosphoinositol Pentakisphosphate Kinases (PPIP5Ks) for Coupling Inositol Pyrophosphate Cell Signaling to Cellular Phosphate Homeostasis

J Biol Chem. 2017 Mar 17;292(11):4544-4555. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.765743. Epub 2017 Jan 26.


Proteins responsible for Pi homeostasis are critical for all life. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, extracellular [Pi] is "sensed" by the inositol-hexakisphosphate kinase (IP6K) that synthesizes the intracellular inositol pyrophosphate 5-diphosphoinositol 1,2,3,4,6-pentakisphosphate (5-InsP7) as follows: during a period of Pi starvation, there is a decline in cellular [ATP]; the unusually low affinity of IP6Ks for ATP compels 5-InsP7 levels to fall in parallel (Azevedo, C., and Saiardi, A. (2017) Trends. Biochem. Sci. 42, 219-231. Hitherto, such Pi sensing has not been documented in metazoans. Here, using a human intestinal epithelial cell line (HCT116), we show that levels of both 5-InsP7 and ATP decrease upon [Pi] starvation and subsequently recover during Pi replenishment. However, a separate inositol pyrophosphate, 1,5-bisdiphosphoinositol 2,3,4,6-tetrakisphosphate (InsP8), reacts more dramatically (i.e. with a wider dynamic range and greater sensitivity). To understand this novel InsP8 response, we characterized kinetic properties of the bifunctional 5-InsP7 kinase/InsP8 phosphatase activities of full-length diphosphoinositol pentakisphosphate kinases (PPIP5Ks). These data fulfil previously published criteria for any bifunctional kinase/phosphatase to exhibit concentration robustness, permitting levels of the kinase product (InsP8 in this case) to fluctuate independently of varying precursor (i.e. 5-InsP7) pool size. Moreover, we report that InsP8 phosphatase activities of PPIP5Ks are strongly inhibited by Pi (40-90% within the 0-1 mm range). For PPIP5K2, Pi sensing by InsP8 is amplified by a 2-fold activation of 5-InsP7 kinase activity by Pi within the 0-5 mm range. Overall, our data reveal mechanisms that can contribute to specificity in inositol pyrophosphate signaling, regulating InsP8 turnover independently of 5-InsP7, in response to fluctuations in extracellular supply of a key nutrient.

Keywords: inositol phosphate; metabolism; phosphatase; signal transduction; signaling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • HCT116 Cells
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Inositol Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Phosphotransferases (Phosphate Group Acceptor) / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Inositol Phosphates
  • 1-diphosphoinositol pentakisphosphate
  • inositol-1-pyrophosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Phosphotransferases (Phosphate Group Acceptor)
  • PPIP5K1 protein, human
  • PPIP5K2 protein, human
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases
  • diphosphoinositol polyphosphate phosphohydrolase