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A precisely positioned MED12 activation helix stimulates CDK8 kinase activity

Title data

Klatt, Felix ; Leitner, Alexander ; Kim, Iana ; Ho-Xuan, Hung ; Schneider, Elisabeth ; Langhammer, Franziska ; Weinmann, Robin ; Müller, Melanie ; Huber, Robert ; Meister, Gunter ; Kuhn, Claus-D.:
A precisely positioned MED12 activation helix stimulates CDK8 kinase activity.
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Vol. 117 (2020) Issue 6 . - pp. 2894-2905.
ISSN 1091-6490
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1917635117

Project information

Project financing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst
N-BM-2013-244

Abstract in another language

The Mediator kinase module regulates eukaryotic transcription by phosphorylating transcription-related targets and by modulating the association of Mediator and RNA Polymerase II. The activity of its catalytic core, cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8), is controlled by Cyclin C and MED12, with its deregulation contributing to numerous malignancies. Here, we combine in vitro biochemistry, crosslinking coupled to mass spectrometry and in vivo studies to describe the binding location of the N-terminal segment of MED12 on the CDK8/Cyclin C complex and to gain mechanistic insights into the activation of CDK8 by MED12. Our data demonstrate that the N-terminal portion of MED12 wraps around CDK8, whereby it positions an "activation helix" close to the T-loop of CDK8 for its activation. Intriguingly, mutations in the activation helix that are frequently found in cancers do not diminish the affinity of MED12 for CDK8, yet likely alter the exact positioning of the activation helix. Furthermore, we find the transcriptome-wide gene expression changes in human cells that result from a mutation in the MED12 activation helix to correlate with deregulated genes in breast and colon cancer. Last, functional assays in presence of kinase inhibitors reveal that binding of MED12 remodels the active site of CDK8 and thereby precludes the inhibition of ternary CDK8 complexes by type-II kinase inhibitors. Taken together, our results not only allow us to propose a revised model of how CDK8 activity is regulated by MED12, but they also offer a path forward in developing small molecules that target CDK8 in its MED12-bound form.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Molecular Biosciences
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center for Molecular Biosciences - BZMB
Profile Fields
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 11:20
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2020 14:59
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53686