Phosphorylation of apolipoprotein-E at an atypical protein kinase CK2 PSD/E site in vitro

M J. Raftery
R Campbell
Elias N. Glaros, University of NSW
Kerry-Anne Rye
G Halliday, Prince of Wales Med Res Institute, Randwick
W Jessup
Brett Garner, University of Wollongong

Raftery, M. J., Campbell, R., Glaros, E. N., Rye, K., Halliday, G., Jessup, W. & Garner, B. (2005). Phosphorylation of apolipoprotein-E at an atypical protein kinase CK2 PSD/E site in vitro. Biochemistry, 44 (19), 7346-7353.


Apolipoprotein-E (apoE) plays an important role in neuronal lipid transport and is thought to stabilize microtubules by preventing tau hyperphosphorylation. ApoE is also associated with insoluble amyloid detected in Alzheimer disease brain lesions. The apoE C-terminal shares several physicochemical features with α-synuclein, another neuronal apolipoprotein-like protein. α-Synuclein is phosphorylated by protein kinase CK2 (CK2) at an atypical PSD/E motif in vivo and in vitro. We identified a similar PSD/E motif in apoE and therefore investigated its potential phosphorylation by CK2 in vitro. When a [32P]-labeling approach was used, CK2 readily phosphorylated purified human apoE as well as recombinant forms of human apoES and apoE4. Using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry techniques, we mapped the major apoE CK2 phosphorylation site to Ser296 within the apoE PSD/E motif. We also found that apoE potently activated CK2 as demonstrated by increased CK2β subunit autophosphorylation and by increased phosphorylation of tau when the latter was added to the kinase reaction mixtures. Other proteins such as apolipoprotein A-I and albumin did not effectively activate CK2. The phosphorylation of apoE by CK2 as well as the activation of CK2 by apoE may be relevant in vivo where apoE, CK2, and tau are co-localized with additional CK2 targets on neuronal microtubules. © 2005 American Chemical Society