Collapsin response mediating protein-2 (CRMP2) has been identified as an intracellular protein mediating Semaphorin3A (Sema3A), a repulsive guidance molecule. In this study, we demonstrate that cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) plays a critical role in Sema3A signalling. In In vitro kinase assay, Cdk5 phosphorylated CRMP2 at Ser522, while GSK3β did not induce any phosphorylation of CRMP2. Phosphorylation by GSK3β was exclusively observed in Cdk5-phosphorylated CRMP2, but barely in CRMP2T509A. These results indicate that Cdk5 primarily phosphorylates CRMP2 at Ser522 and GSK3β secondarily phosphorylates at Thr509. The dual-phosphorylated CRMP2, but not non-phosphorylated or single-phosphorylated CRMP2, is recognized with the antibody 3F4, which is highly reactive with the neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's disease. 3F4 recognized the CRMP2 in the wild-type but not cdk5-/- mouse embryonic brain lysates.The phosphorylation of CRMP2 at Ser522 caused reduction of its affinity to tubulin. In dorsal root ganglion neurones, Sema3A stimulation enhanced the levels of the phosphorylated form of CRMP2 detected by 3F4. Over-expression of CRMP2 mutant substituting either Ser522 or Thr509 to Ala attenuates Sema3A-induced growth cone collapse response. These results suggest that the sequential phosphorylation of CRMP is an important process of Sema3A signalling and the same mechanism may have some relevance to the pathological aggregation of the microtubule-associated proteins.
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