Principal neurofilament-associated protein kinase in squid axoplasm is related to casein kinase I. Academic Article uri icon


  • A cytoskeletal extract of pure axoplasm, highly enriched with neurofilaments (ANF), was prepared from the giant axon of the squid. This ANF preparation also contained potent kinase activities which phosphorylated the Mr greater than 400,000 (high molecular weight) and Mr 220,000 squid neurofilament protein subunits. High salt (1 M) extraction of this ANF preparation solubilized most of the neurofilament proteins and kinase activities and gel filtration on an AcA 44 column separated these two components. The neurofilaments eluted in the void volume of the column while the kinase activities eluted in the 17-44-kDa range of the column. Two major kinase activities were measured in this peak of activity. One of these strongly phosphorylated the phosphate acceptor peptide Leu-Arg-Arg-Ala-Ser-Leu-Gly (Kemptide) and was completely inhibited by the selective inhibitor of cAMP-dependent kinase Thr-Thr-Tyr-Ala-Asp-Phe-Ile-Ala-Ser-Gly-Arg-Thr-Gly-Arg-Arg-Asn-Ala-Ile- NH2 (Wiptide). Since addition of cAMP did not stimulate activity, this suggested that this kinase was a free catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent kinase associated with the neurofilaments. The second kinase activity most effectively phosphorylated alpha-casein, and this activity was not affected by Wiptide. The alpha-casein phosphorylating activity (ANF kinase) was the principal activity responsible for neurofilament protein phosphorylation, and was not inhibited by various inhibitors against second messenger regulated kinases, suggesting it was related to the casein kinase family. Four lines of evidence indicate ANF kinase was similar to casein kinase I. These were: 1) the apparent molecular weight determined by gel filtration and the chromatographic elution profile on phosphocellulose column corresponded to casein kinase I; 2) heparin, an inhibitor of casein kinase II at 2-5 micrograms/ml, stimulated both ANF kinase and purified casein kinase I at these concentrations, while CKI-7, a relatively selective inhibitor of casein kinase I, inhibited ANF kinase in a comparable dose-response fashion; 3) purified casein kinase I strongly phosphorylated both ANF protein subunits (like ANF kinase) whereas casein kinase II was relatively ineffective; and 4) tryptic peptide maps of the HMW and Mr 220,000 neurofilament proteins after phosphorylation by ANF kinase or purified casein kinase I showed similar 32P-peptide patterns.

publication date

  • March 15, 1991