The β-isoform of PIP4K (PtdIns5P-4-kinase) regulates the levels of nuclear PtdIns5P, which in turn modulates the acetylation of the tumour suppressor p53. The crystal structure of PIP4Kβ demonstrated that it can form a homodimer with the two subunits arranged in opposite orientations. Using MS, isoform-specific antibodies against PIP4Ks, RNAi (RNA interference) suppression and overexpression studies, we show that PIP4Kβ interacts in vitro and in vivo with the PIP4Kα isoform. As the two isoforms phosphorylate the same substrate to generate the same product, the interaction could be considered to be functionally redundant. However, contrary to expectation, we find that PIP4Kβ has 2000-fold less activity towards PtdIns5P compared with PIP4Kα, and that the majority of PIP4K activity associated with PIP4Kβ comes from its interaction with PIP4Kα. Furthermore, PIP4Kβ can modulate the nuclear localization of PIP4Kα, and PIP4Kα has a role in regulating PIP4Kβ functions. The results of the present study suggest a rationale for the functional interaction between PIP4Kα and PIP4Kβ and provide insight into how the relative levels of the two enzymes may be important in their physiological and pathological roles.

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