Phosphorylation of synaptic GTPase-activating protein (synGAP) by polo-like kinase (Plk2) alters the ratio of its GAP activity toward HRas, Rap1 and Rap2 GTPases.

Ward G. Walkup IV, Michael J. Sweredoski, Robert Graham, Sonja Hess, Mary B. Kennedy

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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SynGAP is a Ras and Rap GTPase-activating protein (GAP) found in high concentration in the postsynaptic density (PSD) fraction from mammalian forebrain where it binds to PDZ domains of PSD-95. Phosphorylation of pure recombinant synGAP by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) shifts the balance of synGAP's GAP activity toward inactivation of Rap1; whereas phosphorylation by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) has the opposite effect, shifting the balance toward inactivation of HRas. These shifts in balance contribute to regulation of the numbers of surface AMPA receptors, which rise during synaptic potentiation (CaMKII) and fall during synaptic scaling (CDK5). Polo-like kinase 2 (Plk2/SNK), like CDK5, contributes to synaptic scaling. These two kinases act in concert to reduce the number of surface AMPA receptors following elevated neuronal activity by tagging spine-associated RapGAP protein (SPAR) for degradation, thus raising the level of activated Rap. Here we show that Plk2 also phosphorylates and regulates synGAP. Phosphorylation of synGAP by Plk2 stimulates its GAP activity toward HRas by 65%, and toward Rap1 by 16%. Simultaneous phosphorylation of synGAP by Plk2 and CDK5 at distinct sites produces an additive increase in GAP activity toward HRas (∼230%) and a smaller, non-additive increase in activity toward Rap1 (∼15%). Dual phosphorylation also produces an increase in GAP activity toward Rap2 (∼40–50%), an effect not produced by either kinase alone. As we previously observed for CDK5, addition of Ca2+/CaM causes a substrate-directed doubling of the rate and stoichiometry of phosphorylation of synGAP by Plk2, targeting residues also phosphorylated by CaMKII. In summary, phosphorylation by Plk2, like CDK5, shifts the ratio of GAP activity of synGAP to produce a greater decrease in active Ras than in active Rap, which would produce a shift toward a decrease in the number of surface AMPA receptors in neuronal dendrites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1599-1604
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Early online date24 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2018

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