Conditions influencing the cyclic AMP-dependence of protein kinase (ATP-protein phosphotransferase, EC 2.7.1.37) during the phosphorylation of histone were studied. Protein kinase from mouse liver cytosol and the two isoenzymes [PK (protein kinase) I and PK II] isolated from the cytosol by DEAE-cellulose chromatography were tested. A relation between concentration of enzyme and cyclic AMP-dependence was observed for both isoenzymes. Moderate dilution of isoenzyme PK II decreased the stimulation of the enzyme by cyclic AMP. Isoenzyme PK I could be diluted 200 times more than isoenzyme PK II before the same decrease in cyclic AMP-dependence appeared. Long-term incubation with high concentrations of histone increased the activity in the absence of cyclic AMP relative to the activity in the presence of the nucleotide. This was more pronounced for isoenzyme PK II than for isoenzyme PK I. The cyclic AMP concentration needed to give half-maximal binding of the nucleotide was the same as the cyclic AMP concentration (Ka) at which the protein kinase had 50% of its maximal activity. The close correlation between binding and activation is also found in the presence of KCl, which increased the apparent activation constant (Ka) for cyclic AMP. With increasing [KCl], a progressively higher proportion of the histone phosphorylation observed in cytosol was due to cyclic AMP-independent (casein) kinases, leading to an overestimation of the degree of activation of the cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinases present. The relative contributions of cyclic AMP-dependent and -independent kinases to histone phosphorylation at different ionic strengths was determined by use of heat-stable inhibitor and phospho-cellulose chromatography.

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