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REVIEW: Catalytic Subunit of PKA as a Prototype of the Eukaryotic Protein Kinase Family

B. A. Reikhardt1,a* and P. D. Shabanov1

1Institute of Experimental Medicine, 197376 St. Petersburg, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received October 21, 2019; Revised February 25, 2020; Accepted February 26, 2020
The catalytic subunit of protein kinase A (PKAc) is conserved in all eukaryotic protein kinases. PKAc consists of two lobes that form the catalytic cleft containing the ATP-binding, peptide-binding site, and catalytic sites. During folding, PKAc secondary structures organize so that the non-polar regions form a globular core, while mobile loops and tails are exposed and can act as regulatory elements. De novo synthesized PKAc is phosphorylated at the T-loop, resulting in the formation of the active center capable of high-affinity binding of co-substrates. The ATP-molecule “sticks” the two lobes together, whereas the binding of peptide substrate completes the active center formation. The resulting catalytic triad (γ-phosphate of ATP, hydroxyl of Ser/Thr residue of the protein substrate, and Asp166 carboxyl) occupies a position optimal for catalysis. During the catalytic cycle, dynamic reorganization of polar and hydrophobic interactions ensures PKAc transition from the open to the closed conformation and vice versa. Understanding the structural basis of functioning of eukaryotic protein kinases (ePKs) is essential for successful design of ePK modulators.
KEY WORDS: PKA catalytic subunit, ATP-binding site of PKA, peptide-binding site of PKA, Thr197 of PKA, hydrophobic spins