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Blood. 2004 Jul 1;104(1):207-14. Epub 2004 Mar 9.

NTAL phosphorylation is a pivotal link between the signaling cascades leading to human mast cell degranulation following Kit activation and Fc epsilon RI aggregation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Aggregation of high-affinity receptors for immunoglobulin E (Fc epsilon RI) on the surface of mast cells results in degranulation, a response that is potentiated by binding of stem cell factor (SCF) to its receptor Kit. We observed that one of the major initial signaling events associated with Fc epsilon RI-mediated activation of human mast cells (HuMCs) is the rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of a protein of 25 to 30 kDa. The phosphorylation of this protein was also observed in response to SCF. This protein was identified as non-T-cell activation linker (NTAL), an adaptor molecule similar to linker for activated T cells (LAT). Unlike the Fc epsilon RI response, SCF induced NTAL phosphorylation in the absence of detectable LAT phosphorylation. When SCF and antigen were added concurrently, there was a marked synergistic effect on NTAL phosphorylation, however, SCF did not enhance the phosphorylation of LAT induced by Fc epsilon RI aggregation. Fc epsilon RI- and SCF-mediated NTAL phosphorylation appear to be differentially regulated by Src kinases and/or Kit kinase, respectively. Diminution of NTAL expression by silencing RNA oligonucleotides in HuMCs resulted in a reduction of both Kit- and Fc epsilon RI-mediated degranulation. NTAL, thus, appears to be an important link between the signaling pathways that are initiated by these receptors, culminating in mast cell degranulation.

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