The 14-3-3 family of proteins mediates signal transduction by binding to phosphoserine-containing proteins. Using phosphoserine-oriented peptide libraries to probe all mammalian and yeast 14-3-3s, we identified two different binding motifs, RSXpSXP and RXY/FXpSXP, present in nearly all known 14-3-3 binding proteins. The crystal structure of 14-3-3zeta complexed with the phosphoserine motif in polyoma middle-T was determined to 2.6 A resolution. The bound peptide is in an extended conformation, with a tight turn created by the pS +2 Pro in a cis conformation. Sites of peptide-protein interaction in the complex rationalize the peptide library results. Finally, we show that the 14-3-3 dimer binds tightly to single molecules containing tandem repeats of phosphoserine motifs, implicating bidentate association as a signaling mechanism with molecules such as Raf, BAD, and Cbl.
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