The NIMA family protein kinases Nek9/Nercc1 and the highly similar Nek6 and Nek7 form a signaling module activated in mitosis, when they are involved in the control of spindle organization and function. Here we report that Nek9, the module upstream kinase, binds to DYNLL/LC8, a highly conserved protein originally described as a component of the dynein complex. LC8 is a dimer that interacts with different proteins and has been suggested to act as a dimerization hub promoting the organization and oligomerization of partially disorganized partners. We find that the interaction of LC8 with Nek9 depends on a (K/R)XTQT motif adjacent to the Nek9 C-terminal coiled coil motif, results in Nek9 multimerization, and increases the rate of Nek9 autoactivation. LC8 binding to Nek9 is regulated by Nek9 activity through the autophosphorylation of Ser944, a residue immediately N-terminal to the (K/R)XTQT motif. Remarkably, LC8 binding interferes with the interaction of Nek9 with its downstream partner Nek6 as well as with Nek6 activation, thus controlling both processes. Our work sheds light into the control of signal transduction through the module formed by Nek9 and Nek6/7 and uncovers a novel manner in which LC8 can regulate partner physiology by interfering with protein complex formation. We suggest that this and other LC8 functions can be specifically regulated by partner phosphorylation. © 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
|Journal of Biological Chemistry
|Published - 20 May 2011