Phosphorylation of the IDP KID Modulates Affinity for KIX by Increasing the Lifetime of the Complex.

31 May 2018

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are known to undergo a range of posttranslational modifications, but by what mechanism do such modifications affect the binding of an IDP to its partner protein? We investigate this question using one such IDP, the kinase inducible domain (KID) of the transcription factor CREB, which interacts with the KIX domain of CREB-binding protein upon phosphorylation. As with many other IDPs, KID undergoes coupled folding and binding to form α-helical structure upon interacting with KIX. This single site phosphorylation plays an important role in the control of transcriptional activation in vivo. Here we show that, contrary to expectation, phosphorylation has no effect on association rates-unphosphorylated KID binds just as rapidly as pKID, the phosphorylated form-but rather, acts by increasing the lifetime of the complex. We propose that by controlling the lifetime of the bound complex of pKID:KIX via altering the dissociation rate, phosphorylation can facilitate effective control of transcription regulation.