Analysis of serotonin N-acetyltransferase regulation in vitro and in live cells using protein semisynthesis

Lawrence M. Szewczuk, Mary K. Tarrant, Vedangi Sample, William J. Drury, Jin Zhang, Philip A. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Serotonin N-acetyltransferase [arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT)] is a key circadian rhythm enzyme that drives the nocturnal production of melatonin in the pineal. Prior studies have suggested that its light and diurnal regulation involves phosphorylation on key AANAT Ser and Thr residues which results in 14-3-3ζ recruitment and changes in catalytic activity and protein stability. Here we use protein semisynthesis by expressed protein ligation to systematically explore the effects of single and dual phosphorylation of AANAT on acetyltransferase activity and relative affinity for 14-3-3ζ. AANAT Thr31 phosphorylation on its own can enhance catalytic efficiency up to 7-fold through an interaction with 14-3-3ζ that lowers the substrate Km. This augmented catalytic profile is largely abolished by double phosphorylation at Thr31 and Ser205. A possible basis for this difference is the dual anchoring of doubly phosphorylated AANAT via one 14-3-3ζ heterodimer. We have developed a novel solution phase assay for accurate KD measurements of 14-3-3ζ-AANAT interaction using 14-3-3ζ fluorescently labeled with rhodamine by expressed protein ligation. We have also generated a doubly fluorescently labeled AANAT which can be used to assess the stability of this protein in a live cell, real-time assay by fluorescence resonance energy transfer measured by microscopic imaging. These studies offer new insights into the molecular basis of melatonin regulation and 14-3-3ζ interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10407-10419
Number of pages13
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 30 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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