PIN1 participates in the regulation of a number of signalling pathways in the cell involving protein phosphorylation/ dephosphorylation. Its role seems to be an essential control level in addition to the protein phosphorylation by proline-directed kinases. Its cellular function includes regulation of the cell cycle by interaction with phosphorylated mitotic proteins such as Cdc25 and transcription factors such as p53. PIN1 was shown to be involved in the malignant transformation of cells in breast cancer, by up regulation of cyclinD1 and is thought to be involved in the development of the AD by regulating the function of phosphorylated Tau. We propose here to discuss the molecular function of PIN1 at the atomic level based on data from the recent literature and our own results obtained by the technique of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. PIN1 specifically interacts with pThr/pSer-Pro motifs and is constituted by two domains: a WW N-terminal domain that binds pThr/pSer-Pro epitopes and a prolyl cis/trans isomerase C-terminal catalytic domain. An exception to this organisation is found in the plant PIN1 homologous enzymes, like PIN1At from Arabidopsis thaliana, that are constituted of the sole catalytic domain. The molecular function of PIN1, binding to and isomerization of pThr/pSer-Pro bonds, are thought to lead to several functional consequences. In a first mode of action, exemplified by its competition with the CKS protein, the interaction with PIN1 prevents interaction with other regulatory proteins, like ubiquitin-ligases that lead to degradation pathways. In a second mode of action, the idea is largely accepted that the local isomerization modifies the global conformation of the protein substrate and hence its intrinsic activity, although this has never been directly demonstrated. Finally, isomerization catalysis is thought to regulate the (de)phosphorylation of specific pThr/pSer-Pro motifs, exemplified by the stimulation of the dephosphorylation of pThr231 of Tau by the PP2A phosphatase.
Keywords: WW domain, Disordered Proteins, PIN1 substrates, multiphosphorylated tau, cis/trans conformation, Catalytic Domain
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