It has been proposed that phosphoinositides and inositol phosphates serve as general ligands for members of the structurally related pleckstrin homology (PH) domain family. The N-terminal PH domain of pleckstrin (N-PH), in contrast with other PH domains, does not bind to any of these ligands with the high affinity expected for a physiological interaction. To examine whether N-PH might instead mediate protein-protein interaction, a fusion protein with glutathione S-transferase (GST) expressing N-PH (GST-N-PH) was used to screen [35S]methionine metabolically labelled HL-60 and Bac1.2F5 cell lysates for potential binding partners. A 30 kDa binding protein was identified in both cell lines. Binding to N-PH demonstrated specificity, because binding was approx. 10-fold higher than when an equimolar amount of pleckstrin C-terminal PH domain (GST-C-PH) was used as probe. The 30 kDa protein could also be metabolically labelled with [32P]Pi and proved to be a tyrosine-phosphorylated protein. Binding to N-PH could be specifically inhibited with phosphotyrosine but not with phosphothreonine; the inhibition was concentration-dependent. Site-directed mutagenesis indicated that a positively charged region previously identified as the phosphoinositide-binding site in N-PH and other PH domains, rather than a putative phosphotyrosine-binding region previously identified in structurally similar phosphotyrosine-binding (PTB) domains, served as the binding site. These results suggest that the positively charged region of N-PH has the potential to interact with a protein ligand that contains phosphotyrosine.

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