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Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Sep;21(18):6170-80.

A point mutation in the N-terminal coiled-coil domain releases c-Fes tyrosine kinase activity and survival signaling in myeloid leukemia cells.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


The c-fes locus encodes a 93-kDa non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase (Fes) that regulates the growth and differentiation of hematopoietic and vascular endothelial cells. Unique to Fes is a long N-terminal sequence with two regions of strong homology to coiled-coil oligomerization domains. We introduced leucine-to-proline substitutions into the coiled coils that were predicted to disrupt the coiled-coil structure. The resulting mutant proteins, together with wild-type Fes, were fused to green fluorescent protein and expressed in Rat-2 fibroblasts. We observed that a point mutation in the first coiled-coil domain (L145P) dramatically increased Fes tyrosine kinase and transforming activities in this cell type. In contrast, a similar point mutation in the second coiled-coil motif (L334P) was without effect. However, combining the L334P and L145P mutations reduced transforming and kinase activities by approximately 50% relative to the levels of activity produced with the L145P mutation alone. To study the effects of the coiled-coil mutations in a biologically relevant context, we expressed the mutant proteins in the granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-dependent myeloid leukemia cell line TF-1. In this cellular context, the L145P mutation induced GM-CSF independence, cell attachment, and spreading. These effects correlated with a marked increase in L145P protein autophosphorylation relative to that of wild-type Fes. In contrast, the double coiled-coil mutant protein showed greatly reduced kinase and biological activities in TF-1 cells. These data are consistent with a role for the first coiled coil in the negative regulation of kinase activity and a requirement for the second coiled coil in either oligomerization or recruitment of signaling partners. Gel filtration experiments showed that the unique N-terminal region interconverts between monomeric and oligomeric forms. Single point mutations favored oligomerization, while the double point mutant protein eluted essentially as the monomer. These data provide new evidence for coiled-coil-mediated regulation of c-Fes tyrosine kinase activity and signaling, a mechanism unique among tyrosine kinases.

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