A Protein Kinase-A Recognition Sequence Is Structurally Linked to Transformation by p59v-rel and Cytoplasmic Retention of p68c-rel

George Mosialos, Peter Hamer, Anthony J Capobianco, Richard A. Laursen, Thomas D. Gilmore

91 Scopus citations


The Rel family of proteins includes a number of proteins involved in transcriptional control, such as the retroviral oncoprotein v-Rel, c-Rel, the Drosophila melanogaster developmental protein Dorsal, and subunits of the transcription factor NF-κB. These proteins are related through a highly conserved domain of approximately 300 amino acids, called the Rel homology domain, that contains dimerization, DNA binding, and nuclear targeting functions. Also within the Rel homology domain, there is a conserved consensus sequence (Arg-Arg-Pro-Ser) for phosphorylation by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). We used linker insertion mutagenesis and site-directed mutagenesis to determine the importance of this sequence for the transformation of avian spleen cells by v-Rel and the subcellular localization of c-Rel in chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF). The insertion of 2 amino acids (Pro-Trp) within this sequence completely abolished transformation and transcriptional repression by v-Rel and resulted in a shift in the localization of c-Rel from cytoplasmic to nuclear in CEF. When the conserved Ser within the PKA recognition sequence was replaced by Ala, there was no significant effect on transformation and transcriptional repression by v-Rel or on cytoplasmic retention of c-Rel. However, when this Ser was changed to Asp or Glu, transformation and transcriptional repression by v-Rel were significantly inhibited and c-Rel showed a diffuse nuclear and cytoplasmic localization in CEF. Although a peptide containing the recognition sequence from v-Rel can be phosphorylated by PKA in vitro, this site is not constitutively phosphorylated to a high degree in vivo in transformed spleen cells incubated with okadaic acid. Our results indicate that the transforming and transcriptional repressing activities of v-Rel and the cytoplasmic retention of c-Rel are dependent on the structure of the conserved PKA recognition motif. In addition, they suggest that phosphorylation at the conserved PKA site could have a negative effect on transformation and transcriptional repression by v-Rel and induce the nuclear localization of c-Rel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5867-5877
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology

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