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Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Jul;23(13):4663-72.

The Bcr kinase downregulates Ras signaling by phosphorylating AF-6 and binding to its PDZ domain.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Virology, University of Zurich, CH-8028 Zurich, Switzerland.


The protein kinase Bcr is a negative regulator of cell proliferation and oncogenic transformation. We identified Bcr as a ligand for the PDZ domain of the cell junction and Ras-interacting protein AF-6. The Bcr kinase phosphorylates AF-6, which subsequently allows efficient binding of Bcr to AF-6, showing that the Bcr kinase is a regulator of the PDZ domain-ligand interaction. Bcr and AF-6 colocalize in epithelial cells at the plasma membrane. In addition, Bcr, AF-6, and Ras form a trimeric complex. Bcr increases the affinity of AF-6 to Ras, and a mutant of AF-6 that lacks a specific phosphorylation site for Bcr shows a reduced binding to Ras. Wild-type Bcr, but not Bcr mutants defective in binding to AF-6, interferes with the Ras-dependent stimulation of the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway. Since AF-6 binds to Bcr via its PDZ domain and to Ras via its Ras-binding domain, we propose that AF-6 functions as a scaffold-like protein that links Bcr and Ras to cellular junctions. We suggest that this trimeric complex is involved in downregulation of Ras-mediated signaling at sites of cell-cell contact to maintain cells in a nonproliferating state.

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