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J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 22;275(51):40614-9.

Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of Bruton's tyrosine kinase.

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  • 1Clinical Research Center, Karolinska Institute, SE-141 57 Huddinge, Sweden.


Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk), a nonreceptor cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase belonging to the Tec family of kinases, has been shown to be critical for B cell proliferation, differentiation, and signaling. Loss-of-function mutations in the Btk gene lead to X-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA), a primary immunodeficiency in humans, and the less severe condition xid in mice. Although Btk is mainly localized in the cytoplasm under steady state conditions, it translocates to the plasma membrane upon growth factor stimulation and cross-linking of the B cell receptor. Nevertheless, in ectopically as well as endogenously Btk-expressing cells, it can also translocate to the nucleus. Deletion of the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain (DeltaPH1) leads, however, to an even redistribution of Btk within the nucleus and cytoplasm in the majority of transfected cells. In contrast, an SH3-deleted (DeltaSH3) mutant of Btk has been found to be predominantly nuclear. We also demonstrate that the nuclear accumulation of DeltaPH1 is dependent on Src expression. This nucleocytoplasmic shuttling is sensitive to the exportin 1/CRM1-inactivating drug, leptomycin B, indicating that Btk utilizes functional nuclear export signals. In addition, while the DeltaPH1 mutant of Btk was found to be active and tyrosine-phosphorylated in vivo, DeltaSH3 displayed decreased autokinase activity and was not phosphorylated. Our findings indicate that the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of Btk has implications regarding potential targets inside the nucleus, which may be critical in gene regulation during B cell development and differentiation.

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