Role of Water in Protein Kinase C Catalysis and Its Binding to Membranes
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The role of hydration in the catalytic activity and membrane binding of rat brain protein kinase C (PKC) was investigated by modulating the activity of water with polyethylene glycols with molecular weights of 1000-20000 and dextran with a molecular weight of 20000. These polymers create an osmotic stress due to their exclusion from hydration shells and crevices on proteins, causing dehydration. Polymers larger than 1000 caused an activation of the PKC-catalyzed phosphorylation of histone, while PEG 1000 had no significant effect. The extent of activation by PEG and dextran 20000 was larger than that of PEG 6000 or 8000 when vesicles were composed of 1:1 POPS/POPC, suggesting the presence of at least two distinct regions of exclusion on PKC: one inaccessible to PEGs larger than 1000 and the other inaccessible only to PEGs of > 10000. The extent of activation was dependent on the composition of the vesicles used. If basal activity (without PEG) was low (e.g. with low PS content in membranes), then the extent of activation was similar for all polymers larger than 1000. Binding of PKC to membranes containing 50 mol % PS was unaffected by PEG 6000 but was inhibited by PEG 20000. At a low PS content of 10%, both PEG 6000 and 20000 inhibited binding. This suggests that PKC becomes hydrated upon binding to membranes. Under conditions in which all of the enzyme is membrane-bound, both Km and Vmax for the phosphorylation of histone increased linearly with osmotic stress induced by PEG 6000. Thus, PKC becomes hydrated with 2311 +/- 476 water molecules upon binding of histone and is dehydrated by 1349 +/- 882 water molecules in going to the transition state. Km and Vmax for phosphorylation of the MARCKS peptide also increase with osmotic stress induced by PEG 6000. When protamine sulfate was used as a substrate (cofactor-independent), Vmax for the reaction was unaffected, but Km decreased with osmotic pressure (with PEG 6000), suggesting that PKC becomes dehydrated upon binding protamine. Similar results were found with a peptide substrate derived from the pseudosubstrate site of PKC epsilon. Since dextran, a polymer unrelated in structure to PEG, could cause a similar activation of PKC, the effects seen are likely due to osmotic stress and not to specific binding of PEG to PKC. Also, results obtained with PE-linked PEG were opposite to those with free PEG. PE-linked PEGs of 2000 and 5000 caused an inhibition of PKC-catalyzed phosphorylation of histone when present in membranes. If a specific interaction occurred with PEG, this would be expected to occur even with PE-PEG. The effects observed with free PEG are also independent of ionic strength. Free PEG had no effect on the bilayer to hexagonal phase transition temperature of DEPE membranes, suggesting that the effects on PKC activity are not a consequence of changes in membrane properties at the osmotic pressures used.