A tandem motif-based and structural approach can identify hidden functional phosphodiesterases

Document Type


Publication Date



Cyclic nucleotide monophosphates (cNMPs) are increasingly recognized as essential signaling molecules governing many physiological and developmental processes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Degradation of cNMPs is as important as their generation because it offers the capability for transient and dynamic cellular level regulation but unlike their generating enzymes, the degrading enzymes, cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are somewhat elusive in higher plants. Based on sequence analysis and structural properties of canonical PDE catalytic centers, we have developed a consensus sequence search motif and used it to identify candidate PDEs. One of these is an Arabidopsis thaliana K+-Uptake Permease (AtKUP5). Structural and molecular docking analysis revealed that the identified PDE domain occupies the C-terminal of this protein forming a solvent-exposed distinctive pocket that can spatially accommodate the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) substrate and importantly, cAMP assumes a binding pose that is favorable for interactions with the key amino acids in the consensus motif. PDE activity was confirmed by the sensitive liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method. Notably, this activity was stimulated by the Ca2+/CaM complex, the binding of which to the PDE center was confirmed by surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Since AtKUP5 also has adenylate cyclase (AC) activity that is essential for K+ transport, we propose that this dual moonlighting AC-PDE architecture, offers modulatory roles that afford intricate intramolecular regulation of cAMP levels thereby enabling fine-tuning of cAMP signaling in K+ homeostasis.

Publication Title

Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal

First Page Number


Last Page Number




This document is currently not available here.