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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioformatics Volume 77, Issue 3, November 2009, Pages 732-735. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1002/prot.22529. Copyright © Wiley InterScience


Cell motility, such as smooth muscle contraction and cell migration, is controlled by the reversible phosphorylation of the regulatory light chain of myosin II and other cytoskeletal proteins. Mounting evidence suggests that in smooth muscle cells and other types of cells in vertebrates, myosin phosphatase (MP) plays an important role in controlling the phosphorylation of myosin II as well as other cytoskeletal proteins, including ezrin, moesin, and radixin.1 MP is a holoenzyme consisting of a catalytic subunit of a type-1 Ser/Thr phosphatase (PP1C) delta isoform, a myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1), and an accessory subunit M21. In this ternary complex, MYPT1 is responsible for regulating the phosphatase activity.1

A recent X-ray crystallographic study revealed an allosteric interaction between PP1C and the N-terminal ankyrin repeat domain of MYPT1 that confers the substrate specificity of the enzyme.2 MP activity is suppressed when Thr696 or Thr853 of MYPT1 is phosphorylated by various kinases, such as ROCK, ZIPK, ILK, and PAK.1,3 However, it is still unclear how the phosphorylation of MYPT1 inhibits MP activity. The amino acid sequence around Thr696 of MYPT1 is highly conserved among MYPT1 family members including MYPT2 and MBS85. Therefore, structural insights into the inhibitory domain of MYPT1 are expected to provide new clues to fully elucidate the mechanism that controls phosphatase activity via the phosphorylation of MYPT1 or other family members involved in kinase-phosphatase crosstalk in cytoskeletal regulation.

Here, we prepared a bacterial recombinant fragment of MYPT1 corresponding to residues 658 to 714, including the phosphorylation site Thr696, and determined its three-dimensional structure through the use of computer-assisted distance geometry and a simulated annealing protocol combined with stable-isotope-aided multi-dimensional NMR techniques.

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