MAPKAP Kinase 2 Phosphorylates Tristetraprolin on in Vivo Sites Including Ser178, a Site Required for 14-3-3 Binding

Carol A. Chrestensen, Melanie J. Schroeder, Jeffrey Shabanowitz, Donald F. Hunt, Jared W. Pelo, Mark T. Worthington, Thomas W. Sturgill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


MAPKAP kinase 2 (MK2) is required for tumor necrosis factor synthesis. Tristetraprolin (TTP) binds to the 3′-untranslated region of tumor necrosis factor mRNA and regulates its fate. We identified in vitro and in vivo phosphorylation sites in TTP using nanoflow high pressure liquid chromatography microelectrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry and novel methods for direct digestion of TTP bound to affinity matrices (GSH-beads or anti-Myc linked to magnetic beads). MK2Δ3B, activated in Escherichia coli by p38α, phosphorylates TTP in vitro at major sites Ser52 and Ser178 (> 10-fold in abundance) as well as at several minor sites that were detected after enriching for phosphopeptides with immobilized metal affinity chromatography. MK2 phosphorylation of TTP creates a functional 14-3-3 binding site. In cells, TTP was phosphorylated at Ser52, Ser 178, Thr250, and Ser316 and at SP sites in a cluster (Ser80/Ser82/Ser85). Anisomycin treatment of NIH 3T3 cells increased phosphorylation of Ser52 and Ser178. Overexpression of MK2 sufficed to increase phosphorylation of Ser52 and Ser178 but not Ser80/Ser 82/Ser85 or Thr250. Thus, Ser52 and Ser178 are putative MK2 sites in vivo. Identified phosphosite(s) may be biologic switches controlling mRNA stability and translation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10176-10184
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 12 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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