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J Biol Chem. 1985 May 10;260(9):5838-46.

src kinase catalyzes the phosphorylation and activation of the insulin receptor kinase.


When a partially purified insulin receptor preparation immobilized on insulin-agarose is incubated with [gamma-32P]ATP, Mn2+, and Mg2+ ions, the receptor beta subunit becomes 32P-labeled. The 32P-labeling of the insulin receptor beta subunit is increased by 2-3-fold when src kinase is included in the phosphorylation reaction. In addition, the presence of src kinase results in the phosphorylation of a Mr = 125,000 species. The Mr = 93,000 receptor beta subunit and the Mr = 125,000 32P-labeled bands are absent when an insulin receptor-deficient sample, prepared by the inclusion of excess free insulin to inhibit the adsorption of the receptor to the insulin-agarose, is phosphorylated in the presence of the src kinase. These results indicate that the insulin receptor alpha and beta subunits are phosphorylated by the src kinase. The src kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation of the insulin receptor is not due to the activation of receptor autophosphorylation because a N-ethylmaleimide-treated receptor preparation devoid of receptor kinase activity is also phosphorylated by the src kinase. Conversely, the insulin receptor kinase does not catalyze phosphorylation of the active or N-ethylmaleimide-inactivated src kinase. Subsequent to src kinase-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation, the insulin receptor, either immobilized on insulin-agarose or in detergent extracts, exhibits a 2-fold increase in associated kinase activity using histone as substrate. src kinase mediates phosphorylation of predominantly tyrosine residues on both alpha and beta subunits of the insulin receptor. Tryptic peptide mapping of the 32P-labeled receptor alpha and beta subunits by high pressure liquid chromatography reveals that the src kinase-mediated phosphorylation sites on both receptor subunits exhibit elution profiles identical with those phosphorylated by the receptor kinase. Furthermore, the HPLC elution profile of the receptor auto- or src kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation sites on the receptor alpha subunit are also identical with that on the receptor beta subunit. These results indicate that: the src kinase catalyzes tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor alpha and beta subunits; and src kinase-catalyzed phosphorylation of insulin receptor can mimic the action of autophosphorylation to activate the insulin receptor kinase in vitro, although whether this occurs in intact cells remains to be determined.

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