Protein kinases exhibit substrate specificities that are often primarily determined by the amino acids around the phosphorylation sites. Peptides corresponding to protein kinase C phosphorylation sites in several different proteins were synthesized on SPOTs membrane which has recently been found to be applicable for studies of protein kinase specificity. After phosphorylation with protein kinase C, we chose the best phosphorylated peptides for the investigation of the importance of amino acids immediately adjacent to the phosphorylation site. The selectivity of the best protein kinase C substrates from this study was analysed with protein kinases A, CK1 and CK2. According to these tests, the most favourable characteristics of SPOTs-membrane-associated peptides were demonstrated by peptide KRAKRKTAKKR. Kinetic analysis of peptide phosphorylation with protein kinase C revealed an apparent Km of 0.49±0.13 μM and Vmax of 10.0±0.5 nmol/min per mg with soluble peptide KRAKRKTAKKR. In addition, we assayed several other soluble peptides commonly used as protein kinase C substrates. Peptide KRAKRKTAKKR showed the lowest Km and the highest Vmax/Km value in comparison with peptides FKKSFKL, pEKRPSQRSKYL and KRAKRKTTKKR. Furthermore, of the peptides tested, KRAKRKTAKKR was the most selective substrate for protein kinase C. The favourable kinetic parameters combined with the selectivity should make the KRAKRKTAKKR peptide useful as a substrate for protein kinase C in the assays of both purified enzyme and in crude cell extracts.

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