Identification and Structure Characterization of a Cdk Inhibitory Peptide Derived from Neuronal-specific Cdk5 Activator Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The activation of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) depends on the binding of its neuronal specific activator Nck5a. The minimal activation domain of Nck5a is located in the region of amino acid residues 150 to 291 (Tang, D., Chun, A. C. S., Zhang, M., and Wang, J. H. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 12318-12327). In this work we show that a 29-residue peptide, denoted as the alphaN peptide, encompassing amino acid residues Gln145 to Asp173 of Nck5a is capable of binding Cdk5 to result in kinase inhibition. This peptide also inhibits an active phospho-Cdk2-cyclin A complex, with a similar potency. Direct competition experiments have shown that this inhibitory peptide does not compete with Nck5a or cyclin A for Cdk5 or Cdk2, respectively. Steady state kinetic analysis has indicated that the alphaN peptide acts as a non-competitive inhibitor of Cdk5. Nck5a complex with respect to the peptide substrate. To understand the molecular basis of kinase inhibition by the peptide, we determined the structure of the peptide in solution by circular dichroism and two-dimensional 1H NMR spectroscopy. The peptide adopts an amphipathic alpha-helical structure from residues Ser149 to Arg162 which can be further stabilized by the helix-stabilizing solvent trifluoroethanol. The hydrophobic face of the helix is likely to be the kinase binding surface.


  • Chin, King-Tung
  • Ohki, Shin-ya
  • Tang, Damu
  • Cheng, Heung-Chin
  • Wang, Jerry H
  • Zhang, Mingjie

publication date

  • March 1999

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