Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




David Litchfield


The enzyme Pin1 is a peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase consisting structurally of two domains, an N-terminal WW protein interaction domain and a C-terminal PPIase catalytic domain. Both domains bind a phosphorylated serine/threonine-proline motif, however, a precise mechanism regarding how binding to interactors is coordinated by both domains has not yet been determined. Although multiple models exist to explain this process, it appears that the interactions may be substrate-specific. With regards to a well–studied Pin1 interactor, CDC25C, we hypothesize that binding occurs via the simultaneous model. This model suggests that two binding sites, each having low affinity, may bind in concert producing a higher affinity interaction. To investigate this we chose to employ a peptide-based approach, using human CDC25C-derived peptides which contained the two identified Pin1 binding sites in phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated combinations. These peptides were utilized in two independent assays, surface plasmon resonance and fluorescence polarization, to elucidate the domain- and phosphorylation-requirements of the Pin1-CDC25C interaction. We showed that the interaction is phosphorylation-dependent, and is optimal when full-length, wild-type Pin1 binds to a doubly-phosphorylated peptide. Collectively, our results support our hypothesis that the Pin1-CDC25C interaction occurs via the simultaneous model, and requires both domains.

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