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

A protein-tyrosine/serine phosphatase encoded by the genome of the cyanobacterium Nostoc commune UTEX 584.

Protein-tyrosine phosphorylation has long been regarded as an exclusively eukaryotic phenomenon. Although some non-eukaryotes, mainly viruses, possess genes encoding protein-tyrosine kinases or protein-tyrosine phosphatases, these were probably appropriated from the eukaryotic hosts that constitute the sites of action of these enzymes. Herein we identify a gene, iphP, from the chromosome of the cyanobacterium Nostoc commune UTEX 584 that contains the His-Cys-Xaa-Ala-Gly-Xaa-Xaa-Arg sequence characteristic of known protein-tyrosine phosphatases. The expressed gene product, IphP, displayed protein-tyrosine phosphatase activity toward phosphotyrosine residues on reduced, carboxyamidomethylated, and maleylated lysozyme with optimum activity at pH 5. 0. In addition, IphP dephosphorylated the phosphoseryl groups on casein that had been phosphorylated by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Cell lysates of N. commune probed with antibodies to phosphotyrosine indicated the presence of a tyrosine-phosphorylated protein of M(r) approximately 85 kDa. This tyrosine-phosphorylated protein was detected in cells grown in the presence of combined nitrogen but not in nitrogen-deficient media that induces the formation of differentiated N2-fixing cells (heterocysts). Together, these data suggest a role for protein-tyrosine phosphorylation in regulating cellular functions in this cyanobacterium. IphP is the first protein-tyrosine phosphatase to be discovered that is encoded by the chromosomal DNA of any prokaryote. Given the free-living nature of N. commune and the phylogenetic antiquity of the cyanobacteria, these findings suggest for the first time the existence of a protein-tyrosine phosphatase of genuine, unambiguous prokaryotic ancestry, thus raising fundamental questions as to the origin and role of tyrosine phosphorylation.[1]


  1. A protein-tyrosine/serine phosphatase encoded by the genome of the cyanobacterium Nostoc commune UTEX 584. Potts, M., Sun, H., Mockaitis, K., Kennelly, P.J., Reed, D., Tonks, N.K. J. Biol. Chem. (1993) [Pubmed]
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