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Abstractd-myo-inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3) is a fundamental second messenger in cellular Ca2+ mobilization. InsP3 3-kinase, a highly specific enzyme binding InsP3 in just one mode, phosphorylates InsP3 specifically at its secondary 3-hydroxyl group to generate a tetrakisphosphate. Using a chemical biology approach with both synthetised and established ligands, combining synthesis, crystallography, computational docking, HPLC and fluorescence polarization binding assays using fluorescently-tagged InsP3, we have surveyed the limits of InsP3 3-kinase ligand specificity and uncovered surprisingly unforeseen biosynthetic capacity. Structurally-modified ligands exploit active site plasticity generating a helix-tilt. These facilitated uncovering of unexpected substrates phosphorylated at a surrogate extended primary hydroxyl at the inositol pseudo 3-position, applicable even to carbohydrate-based substrates. Crystallization experiments designed to allow reactions to proceed in situ facilitated unequivocal characterization of the atypical tetrakisphosphate products. In summary, we define features of InsP3 3-kinase plasticity and substrate tolerance that may be more widely exploitable.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature Communications


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Date