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EMBO J. Apr 1, 1998; 17(7): 1973–1985.
PMCID: PMC1170543

Btk/Tec kinases regulate sustained increases in intracellular Ca2+ following B-cell receptor activation.


Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is essential for B-lineage development and represents an emerging family of non-receptor tyrosine kinases implicated in signal transduction events initiated by a range of cell surface receptors. Increased dosage of Btk in normal B cells resulted in a striking enhancement of extracellular calcium influx following B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) cross-linking. Ectopic expression of Btk, or related Btk/Tec family kinases, restored deficient extracellular Ca2+ influx in a series of novel Btk-deficient human B-cell lines. Btk and phospholipase Cgamma (PLCgamma) co-expression resulted in tyrosine phosphorylation of PLCgamma and required the same Btk domains as those for Btk-dependent calcium influx. Receptor-dependent Btk activation led to enhanced peak inositol trisphosphate (IP3) generation and depletion of thapsigargin (Tg)-sensitive intracellular calcium stores. These results suggest that Btk maintains increased intracellular calcium levels by controlling a Tg-sensitive, IP3-gated calcium store(s) that regulates store-operated calcium entry. Overexpression of dominant-negative Syk dramatically reduced the initial phase calcium response, demonstrating that Btk/Tec and Syk family kinases may exert distinct effects on calcium signaling. Finally, co-cross-linking of the BCR and the inhibitory receptor, FcgammaRIIb1, completely abrogated Btk-dependent IP3 production and calcium store depletion. Together, these data demonstrate that Btk functions at a critical crossroads in the events controlling calcium signaling by regulating peak IP3 levels and calcium store depletion.

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