Site-selective incorporation of phosphorylated tyrosine into the p50 subunit of NF-κB and activation of its downstream gene CD40†
The NF-κB family of transcriptional activators is responsible for the expression of numerous genes that control key functions such as cell development and survival. Subunit p50 has been studied extensively and is known to include 13 tyrosines, but the extent and pattern of tyrosine phosphorylation that accompanies p50 function has not been defined in the literature, especially at the level of selectivity of gene expression. In this study, phosphorylated tyrosine (pTyr) was site-selectively incorporated into the p50 subunit using an E. coli in vitro expression system containing a modified ribosome. In human T cells, the NF-κBs containing a pTyr at position 60 or 82 of p50 strongly increased the expression of CD40, which is a potential target for cancer or viral immunotherapy. Promoter DNA binding was studied for CD40 promoters, and verified two pTyr residues in NF-κB p50/p65 heterodimers that facilitated this process, and that support the possible importance of phosphorylation stoichiometry. This study defines a new approach for studying tyrosine residues whose phosphorylation alters protein binding to DNA promoters, and contributes to the facility of DNA expression.