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J Biol Chem. 2002 Dec 6;277(49):47954-63. Epub 2002 Sep 25.

The pseudokinase domain is required for suppression of basal activity of Jak2 and Jak3 tyrosine kinases and for cytokine-inducible activation of signal transduction.

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  • 1Haartman Institute, Department of Virology, Biomedicum Helsinki, Programme for Developmental and Reproductive Biology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Janus (Jak) tyrosine kinases contain a tyrosine kinase (JH1) domain adjacent to a catalytically inactive pseudokinase domain (JH2). The JH2 domain has been implicated in regulation of Jak activity, but its function remains poorly understood. Here, we found that the JH2 domain negatively regulates the activity of Jak2 and Jak3. Deletion of JH2 resulted in increased tyrosine phosphorylation of the Jak2- and Jak3-JH2 deletion mutants as well as of coexpressed STAT5. In cytokine receptor signaling, the deletion of the Jak2- and Jak3-JH2 domains resulted in interferon-gamma and interleukin-2-independent STAT activation, respectively. However, cytokine stimulations did not further induce the JH2 deletion mutant-mediated STAT activation. The deletion of the Jak2 JH2 domain also abolished interferon-gamma-inducible kinase activation, although it did not affect the reciprocal Jak1-Jak2 interaction in 293T cells. Chimeric constructs, where the JH2 domains were swapped between Jak2 and Jak3, retained low basal activity and cytokine inducible signaling, indicating functional conservation between the two JH2 domains. However, the basal activity of Jak2 was significantly lower than that of Jak3, suggesting differences in the regulation of Jak2 and Jak3 activity. In conclusion, we found that the JH2 domain has a conserved function in Jak2 and Jak3. The JH2 domain is required for two distinct functions in cytokine signaling: (i) inhibition of the basal activity of Jak2 and Jak3, and (ii) cytokine-inducible activation of signaling. The Jak-JH2 deletion mutants are catalytically active, activate STAT5, and interact with another Jak kinase, but the JH2 domain is required to connect these signaling events to receptor activation. Thus, we propose that the JH2 domain contributes to both the uninduced and ligand-induced Jak-receptor complex, where it acts as a cytokine-inducible switch to regulate signal transduction.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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