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Edwards, D. C. & Gill, G. N. (1999) Structural features of LIM kinase that control effects on the actin cytoskeleton. J.Biol.Chem. 274, 11352-11361. 


LIM kinase phosphorylates and inactivates the actin binding/depolymerizing factor cofilin and induces actin cytoskeletal changes. Several unique structural features within LIM kinase were investigated for their roles in regulation of LIM kinase activity. Disruption of the second LIM domain or the PDZ domain or deletion of the entire amino terminus increased activity in vivo measured as increasing aggregation of the actin cytoskeleton. A kinase-deleted alternate splice product was identified and characterized. This alternate splice product and a kinase inactive mutant inhibited LIM kinase in vivo, indicating that the amino terminus suppresses activity of the kinase domain. Mutation of threonine 508 in the activation loop to valine abolished activity whereas replacement with 2 glutamic acid residues resulted in a fully active enzyme. Dephosphorylation of LIM kinase inhibited cofilin phosphorylation. Mutation of the basic insert in the activation loop inhibited activity in vivo, but not in vitro. These results indicate phosphorylation is an essential regulatory feature of LIM kinase and indicate that threonine 508 and the adjacent basic insert sequences of the activation loop are required for this process. A combination of structural features are thus involved in receiving upstream signals that regulate LIM kinase-induced actin cytoskeletal reorganization.
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