Many cell adhesion-dependent processes are regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation. In order to investigate the role of tyrosine phosphorylation of the utrophin-dystroglycan complex we treated suspended or adherent cultures of HeLa cells with peroxyvanadate and immunoprecipitated (beta)-dystroglycan and utrophin from cell extracts. Western blotting of (&bgr;)-dystroglycan and utrophin revealed adhesion- and peroxyvanadate-dependent mobility shifts which were recognised by anti-phospho-tyrosine antibodies. Using maltose binding protein fusion constructs to the carboxy-terminal domains of utrophin we were able to demonstrate specific interactions between the WW, EF and ZZ domains of utrophin and (beta)-dystroglycan by co-immunoprecipitation with endogenous (beta)-dystroglycan. In extracts from cells treated with peroxyvanadate, where endogenous (beta)-dystroglycan was tyrosine phosphorylated, (beta)-dystroglycan was no longer co-immunoprecipitated with utrophin fusion constructs. Peptide 'SPOTs' assays confirmed that tyrosine phosphorylation of (beta)-dystroglycan regulated the binding of utrophin. The phosphorylated tyrosine was identified as Y(892) in the (beta)-dystroglycan WW domain binding motif PPxY thus demonstrating the physiological regulation of the (beta)-dystroglycan/utrophin interaction by adhesion-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation.
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