Research ArticleCell Cycle

Quantitative Phosphoproteomics Reveals Widespread Full Phosphorylation Site Occupancy During Mitosis

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Science Signaling  12 Jan 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 104, pp. ra3
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2000475

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All-or-None Phosphorylation

Phosphorylation is a key regulatory event that drives many cellular processes, including cell division. Olsen et al. undertook a phosphoproteomic analysis of HeLa cells at various stages in the cell cycle, which linked new phosphorylation sites and kinase substrates to specific stages. Furthermore, they established a method to calculate the fractional occupancy of particular phosphorylation sites (phosphorylation stoichiometry) on a global level and found that, contrary to expectations, many sites on functionally related proteins appeared to be nearly completely phosphorylated at particular stages of the cell cycle. They observed an inverse relationship in the phosphorylation occupancy of some sites in cells undergoing mitosis compared to those in S phase. The authors speculate that a high stoichiometry of phosphorylation may be necessary to inactivate an entire protein population to effectively block activity, whereas function may only require a low stoichiometry of phosphorylation, because only a small fraction of the protein population may be required for full activity.