Signaling cascades rely strongly on protein kinase-mediated substrate phosphorylation. Currently a major challenge in signal transduction research is to obtain high confidence substrate phosphorylation sites and assign them to specific kinases. In response to bacterial flagellin, a pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), we searched for rapidly phosphorylated proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana by combining multistage activation (MSA) and electron transfer dissociation (ETD) fragmentation modes, which generate complementary spectra and identify phosphopeptide sites with increased reliability. Of a total of 825 phosphopeptides, we identified 58 to be differentially phosphorylated. These peptides harbor kinase motifs of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs), as well as yet unknown protein kinases. Importantly, 12 of the phosphopeptides show reduced phosphorylation upon flagellin treatment. Since protein abundance levels did not change, these results indicate that flagellin induces not only various protein kinases but also protein phosphatases, even though a scenario of inhibited kinase activity may also be possible. © 2014 American Chemical Society.
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