Cortistatin A (CA) is a highly selective inhibitor of the Mediator kinases CDK8 and CDK19. Using CA, we now report a large-scale identification of Mediator kinase substrates in human cells (HCT116). We identified over 16,000 quantified phosphosites including 78 high-confidence Mediator kinase targets within 64 proteins, including DNA-binding transcription factors and proteins associated with chromatin, DNA repair, and RNA polymerase II. Although RNA-seq data correlated with Mediator kinase targets, the effects of CA on gene expression were limited and distinct from CDK8 or CDK19 knockdown. Quantitative proteome analyses, tracking around 7,000 proteins across six time points (0–24 hr), revealed that CA selectively affected pathways implicated in inflammation, growth, and metabolic regulation. Contrary to expectations, increased turnover of Mediator kinase targets was not generally observed. Collectively, these data support Mediator kinases as regulators of chromatin and RNA polymerase II activity and suggest their roles extend beyond transcription to metabolism and DNA repair.
Poss, Zachary C.; Ebmeier, Christopher C.; Odell, Aaron T.; Tangpeerachaikul, Anupong; Lee, Thomas; Pelish, Henry E.; Shair, Matthew D.; Dowell, Robin D.; Old, William M.; and Taatjes, Dylan J., "Identification of Mediator Kinase Substrates in Human Cells using Cortistatin A and Quantitative Phosphoproteomics" (2016). Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Faculty Contributions. 20.