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Phosphorylation of two regulatory tyrosine residues in the activation of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase via alternative receptors

The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Publication Date
  • Biological Sciences


Mutation of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk) impairs B cell maturation and function and results in a clinical phenotype of X-linked agammaglobulinemia. Activation of Btk correlates with an increase in the phosphorylation of two regulatory Btk tyrosine residues. Y551 (site 1) within the Src homology type 1 (SH1) domain is transphosphorylated by the Src family tyrosine kinases. Y223 (site 2) is an autophosphorylation site within the Btk SH3 domain. Polyclonal, phosphopeptide-specific antibodies were developed to evaluate the phosphorylation of Btk sites 1 and 2. Crosslinking of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) or the mast cell Fcɛ receptor, or interleukin 5 receptor stimulation each induced rapid phosphorylation at Btk sites 1 and 2 in a tightly coupled manner. Btk molecules were singly and doubly tyrosine-phosphorylated. Phosphorylated Btk comprised only a small fraction (≤5%) of the total pool of Btk molecules in the BCR-activated B cells. Increased dosage of Lyn in B cells augmented BCR-induced phosphorylation at both sites. Kinetic analysis supports a sequential activation mechanism in which individual Btk molecules undergo serial transphosphorylation (site 1) then autophosphorylation (site 2), followed by successive dephosphorylation of site 1 then site 2. The phosphorylation of conserved tyrosine residues within structurally related Tec family kinases is likely to regulate their activation.

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