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The genesis of tyrosine phosphorylation.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology
Publisher
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Volume
6
Issue
5
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a020644
Source
Hunter Lab
License
Unknown

Abstract

Tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins was discovered in 1979, but this posttranslational modification had been "invented" by evolution more than a billion years ago in single-celled eukaryotic organisms that were the antecedents of the first multicellular animals. Because sophisticated cell-cell communication is a sine qua non for the existence of multicellular organisms, the development of cell-surface receptor systems that use tyrosine phosphorylation for transmembrane signal transduction and intracellular signaling seems likely to have been a crucial event in the evolution of metazoans. Like all types of protein phosphorylation, tyrosine phosphorylation serves to regulate proteins in multiple ways, including causing electrostatic repulsion and inducing allosteric transitions, but the most important function of phosphotyrosine (P.Tyr) is to serve as a docking site that promotes a specific interaction between a tyrosine phosphorylated protein and another protein that contains a P.Tyr-binding domain, such as an SH2 or PTB domain. Such docking interactions are essential for signal transduction downstream from receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) on the cell surface, which are activated on binding a cognate extracellular ligand, and, as a consequence, elicit specific cellular outcomes.

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