Reactive sulfur species (RSS) modulate protein functions via S-polysulfidation of reactive Cys residues. Here, we report that Ca2+/calmodulin (CaM)-dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV) was reversibly inactivated by RSS via polysulfidation of the active-site Cys residue. CaMKIV is phosphorylated at Thr196 by its upstream CaMK kinase (CaMKK), resulting in the induction of its full activity. In vitro incubation of CaMKIV with the exogenous RSS donors Na2Sn (n = 2–4) resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of the CaMKK-induced phospho-Thr196 and consequent inactivation of the enzyme activity. Conversely, mutated CaMKIV (C198V) was refractory to the Na2Sn-induced enzyme inhibition. A biotin-polyethylene glycol-conjugated maleimide capture assay revealed that Cys198 in CaMKIV represents a target for S-polysulfidation. Furthermore, phosho-Thr196 and CaMKIV activity were inhibited by incubation with cysteine hydropersulfide, a newly identified RSS that is generated from cystine by cystathionine-γ-lyase. In transfected cells expressing CaMKIV, ionomycin-induced CaMKIV phosphorylation at Thr196 was decreased upon treatment with either Na2S4 or the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress inducer thapsigargin, whereas cells expressing mutant CaMKIV (C198V) were resistant to this treatment. In addition, the ionomycin-induced phospho-Thr196 of endogenous CaMKIV was also inhibited by treatment either with Na2S4 or thapsigargin in Jurkat T lymphocytes. Taken together, these data define a novel signaling function for intracellular RSS in inhibiting CaMKIV activity via S-polysulfidation of its Cys198 during the response to ER stress.

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