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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Serine 518 phosphorylation modulates merlin intramolecular association and binding to critical effectors important for NF2 growth suppression.

The neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) tumor suppressor protein, merlin, functions as a negative growth regulator; however, the molecular mechanisms that underlie merlin regulation remain elusive. Recent studies have implicated merlin phosphorylation in regulating merlin subcellular localization and growth suppression. P21-activated kinase ( PAK), a downstream target of Rac1/ Cdc42, directly phosphorylates merlin at Serine 518. In this report, we show that PAK2 directly phosphorylates wild-type merlin, whereas merlin truncation mutants with impaired GST-amino-terminal domain (N-term or NTD)/GST-carboxy-terminal domain (C-term or CTD) intramolecular association exhibit impaired S518 phosphorylation. We directly demonstrate that PAK2 phosphorylation impairs merlin N-term/C-term binding in vitro and in vivo. Lastly, we show that PAK2 phosphorylation impairs the ability of merlin to bind to two interacting proteins, CD44 and hepatocyte growth factor-regulated tyrosine kinase substrate ( HRS), both critical for merlin growth suppression. These observations suggest that merlin S518 phosphorylation directly modulates merlin intramolecular and intermolecular associations important for the ability of merlin to function as a tumor suppressor.[1]


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