Cell survival is regulated by a signaling network driven by the activity of protein kinases; however, determining the contribution that each kinase in the network makes to such regulation remains challenging. Here, we report a computational approach that uses mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics data to rank protein kinases based on their contribution to cell regulation. We found that the scores returned by this algorithm, which we have termed kinase activity ranking using phosphoproteomics data (KARP), were a quantitative measure of the contribution that individual kinases make to the signaling output. Application of KARP to the analysis of eight hematological cell lines revealed that cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 1/2, casein kinase (CK) 2, extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK), and p21-activated kinase (PAK) were the most frequently highly ranked kinases in these cell models. The patterns of kinase activation were cell-line specific yet showed a significant association with cell viability as a function of kinase inhibitor treatment. Thus, our study exemplifies KARP as an untargeted approach to empirically and systematically identify regulatory kinases within signaling networks.
© 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.