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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Aug;17(8):4509-16.

Phosphorylation of Raf-1 serine 338-serine 339 is an essential regulatory event for Ras-dependent activation and biological signaling.

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Department of Medicine, Walther Oncology Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


Activation of the Raf serine/threonine protein kinases is tightly regulated by multiple phosphorylation events. Phosphorylation of either tyrosine 340 or 341 in the catalytic domain of Raf-1 has been previously shown to induce the ability of the protein kinase to phosphorylate MEK. By using a combination of mitogenic and enzymatic assays, we found that phosphorylation of the adjacent residue, serine 338, and, to a lesser extent, serine 339 is essential for the biological and enzymatic activities of Raf-1. Replacement of S338 with alanine blocked the ability of prenylated Raf-CX to transform Rat-1 fibroblasts. Similarly, the loss of S338-S339 in Raf-1 prevented protein kinase activation in COS-7 cells by either oncogenic Ras[V12] or v-Src. Consistent with phosphorylation of S338-S339, acidic amino acid substitutions of these residues partially restored transforming activity to Raf-CX, as well as kinase activation of Raf-1 by Ras[V12] or v-Src. Two-dimensional phosphopeptide mapping of wild-type Raf-CX and Raf-CX[A338A339] confirmed the presence of a phosphoserine-containing peptide with the predicted mobility in the wild-type protein which was absent from the mutant. This peptide could be quantitatively precipitated by an antipeptide antibody specific for the 18-residue tryptic peptide containing S338-S339 and was demonstrated to contain only phosphoserine. Phosphorylation of this peptide in Raf-1 was significantly increased by coexpression with Ras[V12]. These data demonstrate that Raf-1 residues 338 to 341 constitute a unique phosphoregulatory site in which the phosphorylation of serine and tyrosine residues contributes to the regulation of Raf by Ras, Src, and Ras-independent membrane localization.

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