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Tyrosines in the Carboxyl Terminus Regulate Syk Kinase Activity and Function*

Journal of Biological Chemistry
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m110.134262
  • Signal Transduction
  • Immunology
  • Biology


The Syk tyrosine kinase family plays an essential role in immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) signaling. The binding of Syk to tyrosine-phosphorylated ITAM subunits of immunoreceptors, such as FcϵRI on mast cells, results in a conformational change, with an increase of enzymatic activity of Syk. This conformational change exposes the COOH-terminal tail of Syk, which has three conserved Tyr residues (Tyr-623, Tyr-624, and Tyr-625 of rat Syk). To understand the role of these residues in signaling, wild-type and mutant Syk with these three Tyr mutated to Phe was expressed in Syk-deficient mast cells. There was decreased FcϵRI-induced degranulation, nuclear factor for T cell activation and NFκB activation with the mutated Syk together with reduced phosphorylation of MAP kinases p38 and p42/44 ERK. In non-stimulated cells, the mutated Syk was more tyrosine phosphorylated predominantly as a result of autophosphorylation. In vitro, there was reduced binding of mutated Syk to phosphorylated ITAM due to this increased phosphorylation. This mutated Syk from non-stimulated cells had significantly reduced kinase activity toward an exogenous substrate, whereas its autophosphorylation capacity was not affected. However, the kinase activity and the autophosphorylation capacity of this mutated Syk were dramatically decreased when the protein was dephosphorylated before the in vitro kinase reaction. Furthermore, mutation of these tyrosines in the COOH-terminal region of Syk transforms it to an enzyme, similar to its homolog ZAP-70, which depends on other tyrosine kinases for optimal activation. In testing Syk mutated singly at each one of the tyrosines, Tyr-624 but especially Tyr-625 had the major role in these reactions. Therefore, these results indicate that these tyrosines in the tail region play a critical role in regulating the kinase activity and function of Syk.

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