Regulation of signal duration and the statistical dynamics of kinase activation by scaffold proteins

Jason W. Locasale, Arup K. Chakraborty

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19 Scopus citations


Scaffolding proteins that direct the assembly of multiple kinases into a spatially localized signaling complex are often essential for the maintenance of an appropriate biological response. Although scaffolds are widely believed to have dramatic effects on the dynamics of signal propagation, the mechanisms that underlie these consequences are not well understood. Here, Monte Carlo simulations of a model kinase cascade are used to investigate how the temporal characteristics of signaling cascades can be influenced by the presence of scaffold proteins. Specifically, we examine the effects of spatially localizing kinase components on a scaffold on signaling dynamics. The simulations indicate that a major effect that scaffolds exert on the dynamics of cell signaling is to control how the activation of protein kinases is distributed over time. Scaffolds can influence the timing of kinase activation by allowing for kinases to become activated over a broad range of times, thus allowing for signaling at both early and late times. Scaffold concentrations that result in optimal signal amplitude also result in the broadest distributions of times over which kinases are activated. These calculations provide insights into one mechanism that describes how the duration of a signal can potentially be regulated in a scaffold mediated protein kinase cascade. Our results illustrate another complexity in the broad array of control properties that emerge from the physical effects of spatially localizing components of kinase cascades on scaffold proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1000099
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


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