Identifications of Putative PKA Substrates with Quantitative Phosphoproteomics and Primary-Sequence-Based Scoring

J Proteome Res. 2017 Apr 7;16(4):1825-1830. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.7b00087. Epub 2017 Mar 15.


Protein kinase A (PKA or cAMP-dependent protein kinase) is a serine/threonine kinase that plays essential roles in the regulation of proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. To better understand the functions of PKA, it is necessary to elucidate the direct interplay between PKA and their substrates in living human cells. To identify kinase target substrates in a high-throughput manner, we first quantified the change of phosphoproteome in the cells of which PKA activity was perturbed by drug stimulations. LC-MS/MS analyses identified 2755 and 3191 phosphopeptides from experiments with activator or inhibitor of PKA. To exclude potential indirect targets of PKA, we built a computational model to characterize the kinase sequence specificity toward the substrate target site based on known kinase-substrate relationships. Finally, by combining the sequence recognition model with the quantitative changes in phosphorylation measured in the two drug perturbation experiments, we identified 29 reliable candidates of PKA targeting residues in living cells including 8 previously known substrates. Moreover, 18 of these sites were confirmed to be site-specifically phosphorylated in vitro. Altogether this study proposed a confident list of PKA substrate candidates, expanding our knowledge of PKA signaling network.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays*
  • Humans
  • Phosphopeptides / chemistry
  • Phosphopeptides / genetics
  • Phosphopeptides / isolation & purification*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry*


  • Phosphopeptides
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases