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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Jun;1823(6):1053-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Tyrosine kinase signaling and the emergence of multicellularity.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, School of Medcine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8661, USA. todd.miller@stonybrook.edu


Tyrosine phosphorylation is an essential element of signal transduction in multicellular animals. Although tyrosine kinases were originally regarded as specific to the metazoan lineage, it is now clear that they evolved prior to the split between unicellular and multicellular eukaryotes (≈600million years ago). Genome analyses of choanoflagellates and other protists show an abundance of tyrosine kinases that rivals the most complex animals. Some of these kinases are orthologs of metazoan enzymes (e.g., Src), but others display unique domain compositions not seen in any metazoan. Biochemical experiments have highlighted similarities and differences between the unicellular and multicellular tyrosine kinases. In particular, it appears that the complex systems of kinase autoregulation may have evolved later in the metazoan lineage.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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