Synaptic activity bidirectionally regulates a novel sequence-specific S-Q phosphoproteome in neurons



Protein phosphorylation plays a critical role in neuronal transcription, translation, cell viability, and synaptic plasticity. In neurons, phospho-enzymes and specific substrates directly link glutamate release and post-synaptic depolarization to these cellular functions; however, many of these enzymes and their protein substrates remain uncharacterized or unidentified. In this article, we identify a novel, synaptically driven neuronal phosphoproteome characterized by a specific motif of serine/threonine-glutamine ([S/T]-Q, abbreviated as SQ). These SQ-containing substrates are predominantly localized to dendrites, synapses, the soma; and activation of this SQ phosphoproteome by bicuculline application is induced via calcium influx through L-type calcium channels. On the other hand, acute application of NMDA can inactivate this SQ phosphoproteome. We demonstrate that the SQ motif kinase Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated can also localize to dendrites and dendritic spines, in addition to other subcellular compartments, and is activated by bicuculline application. Pharmacology studies indicate that Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated and its sister kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated and Rad3-related up-regulate these neuronal SQ substrates. Phosphoproteomics identified over 150 SQ-containing substrates whose phosphorylation is bidirectionally regulated by synaptic activity.


We discovered a novel phosphoproteome in neurons which is characterized by the phosphorylation of a specific motif (serine/threonine-glutamine, abbreviated as SQ). The SQ phosphoproteome is activated directly by synaptic activity-mediated Ca2+ influx from L-type calcium channels, and is localized to multiple subcellular domains, including dendritic shafts/spines. Substrates identified in this phosphoproteome exhibit diverse subcellular localizations and functions.