Research ArticleStructural Biology

Reciprocal allosteric regulation of p38γ and PTPN3 involves a PDZ domain–modulated complex formation

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Sci. Signal.  14 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 347, pp. ra98
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005722

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Abstract

The mitogen-activated protein kinase p38γ (also known as MAPK12) and its specific phosphatase PTPN3 (also known as PTPH1) cooperate to promote Ras-induced oncogenesis. We determined the architecture of the PTPN3-p38γ complex by a hybrid method combining x-ray crystallography, small-angle x-ray scattering, and chemical cross-linking coupled to mass spectrometry. A unique feature of the glutamic acid–containing loop (E-loop) of the phosphatase domain defined the substrate specificity of PTPN3 toward fully activated p38γ. The solution structure revealed the formation of an active-state complex between p38γ and the phosphatase domain of PTPN3. The PDZ domain of PTPN3 stabilized the active-state complex through an interaction with the PDZ-binding motif of p38γ. This interaction alleviated autoinhibition of PTPN3, enabling efficient tyrosine dephosphorylation of p38γ. Our findings may enable structure-based drug design targeting the PTPN3-p38γ interaction as an anticancer therapeutic.

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