Phosphorylation of Pak1 by the p35/Cdk5 kinase affects neuronal morphology.
The small GTPase Rac and its effectors, the Pak1 and p35/Cdk5 kinases, have been assigned important roles in regulating cytoskeletal dynamics in neurons. Our previous work revealed that the neuronal p35/Cdk5 kinase associates with Pak1 in a RacGTP-dependent manner, causing hyperphosphorylation and down-regulation of Pak1 kinase activity. We have now demonstrated direct phosphorylation of Pak1 on threonine 212 by the p35/Cdk5 kinase. In neuronal growth cones, Pak1 phosphorylated on Thr-212 localized to actin and tubulin-rich areas, suggesting a role in regulating growth cone dynamics. The expression of a non-phosphorylatable Pak1 mutant (Pak1A212) induced dramatic neurite disorganization. We also observed a strong association between p35/Cdk5 and the Pak1 C-terminal kinase domain. Overall, our data show that in neurons, membrane-associated, active Pak1 is regulated by the p35/Cdk5 kinase both by association and phosphorylation, which is essential for the proper regulation of the cytoskeleton during neurite outgrowth and remodeling.
SciCrunch is a data sharing and display platform. Anyone can create a custom portal where they can select searchable subsets of hundreds of data sources, brand their web pages and create their community. SciCrunch will push data updates automatically to all portals on a weekly basis. User communities can also add their own data to scicrunch, however this is not currently a free service.