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Mol Biol Cell. 2000 Oct;11(10):3589-99.

Rotational coupling of the transmembrane and kinase domains of the Neu receptor tyrosine kinase.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0367, USA.


Ligand binding to receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) regulates receptor dimerization and activation of the kinase domain. To examine the role of the transmembrane domain in regulation of RTK activation, we have exploited a simplified transmembrane motif, [VVVEVVV](n), previously shown to activate the Neu receptor. Here we demonstrate rotational linkage of the transmembrane domain with the kinase domain, as evidenced by a periodic activation of Neu as the dimerization motif is shifted across the transmembrane domain. These results indicate that activation requires a specific orientation of the kinase domains with respect to each other. Results obtained with platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta suggest that this rotational linkage of the transmembrane domain to the kinase domain may be a general feature of RTKs. These observations suggest that activating mutations in RTK transmembrane and juxtamembrane domains will be limited to those residues that position the kinase domains in an allowed rotational conformation.

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