A Protein Phosphorylation Switch at the Conserved Allosteric Site in GP

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Science  13 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5281, pp. 1539-1541
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5281.1539


A phosphorylation-initiated mechanism of local protein refolding activates yeast glycogen phosphorylase (GP). Refolding of the phosphorylated amino-terminus was shown to create a hydrophobic cluster that wedges into the subunit interface of the enzyme to trigger activation. The phosphorylated threonine is buried in the allosteric site. The mechanism implicates glucose 6-phosphate, the allosteric inhibitor, in facilitating dephosphorylation by dislodging the buried covalent phosphate through binding competition. Thus, protein phosphorylation-dephosphorylation may also be controlled through regulation of the accessibility of the phosphorylation site to kinases and phosphatases. In mammalian glycogen phosphorylase, phosphorylation occurs at a distinct locus. The corresponding allosteric site binds a ligand activator, adenosine monophosphate, which triggers activation by a mechanism analogous to that of phosphorylation in the yeast enzyme.