Turning a protein kinase on or off from a single allosteric site via disulfide trapping.
There is significant interest in identifying and characterizing allosteric sites in enzymes such as protein kinases both for understanding allosteric mechanisms as well as for drug discovery. Here, we apply a site-directed technology, disulfide trapping, to interrogate structurally and functionally how an allosteric site on the Ser/Thr kinase, 3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1)--the PDK1-interacting-fragment (PIF) pocket--is engaged by an activating peptide motif on downstream substrate kinases (PIFtides) and by small molecule fragments. By monitoring pairwise disulfide conjugation between PIFtide and PDK1 cysteine mutants, we defined the PIFtide binding orientation in the PIF pocket of PDK1 and assessed subtle relationships between PIFtide positioning and kinase activation. We also discovered a variety of small molecule fragment disulfides (
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