PITALRE is a human protein kinase belonging to the cell division cycle 2 (CDC2) kinase family, and is the catalytic subunit of a multimeric complex that contains several cellular proteins. PITALRE complexes from several cell lines and tissues phosphorylate retinoblastoma protein and myelin basic protein (MBP). In the present work, we have found that MBP is phosphorylated by PITALRE complexes on both Ser and Thr residues. Two different antibodies raised to PITALRE purified virtually identical kinase activities, as analysed by MBP phosphopeptide mapping and phosphoamino acid analysis. We have identified the proline-directed residue Ser-162 of MBP as a major phosphorylation site for PITALRE. In addition, our results suggest that one of the two MBP proline-directed threonine residues, Thr-97, is also selectively phosphorylated by PITALRE. These data, together with analysis of different peptide substrates derived from sites on MBP that are phosphorylated by PITALRE, indicate that PITALRE is a Ser/Thr proline-directed kinase. In addition, our results show that PITALRE has a substrate site specificity distinguishable from those of the CDC2 and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2).

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