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Cell. 1996 Sep 6;86(5):787-98.

Tyrosine phosphorylation of I kappa B-alpha activates NF-kappa B without proteolytic degradation of I kappa B-alpha.

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  • 1Inserm Unité 364 Faculté de Médecine Pasteur, Nice, France.


The transcription factor NF-kappa B regulates genes participating in immune and inflammatory responses. In T lymphocytes, NF-kappa B is sequestered in the cytosol by the inhibitor I kappa B-alpha and released after serine phosphorylation of I kappa B-alpha that regulates its ubiquitin-dependent degradation. We report an alternative mechanism of NF-kappa B activation. Stimulation of Jurkat T cells with the protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor and T cell activator pervanadate led to NF-kappa B activation through tyrosine phosphorylation but not degradation of I kappa B-alpha. Pervanadate-induced I kappa B-alpha phosphorylation and NF-kappa B activation required expression of the T cell tyrosine kinase p56ick. Reoxygenation of hypoxic cells appeared as a physiological effector of I kappa B-alpha tyrosine phosphorylation. Tyrosine phosphorylation of I kappa B-alpha represents a proteolysis-independent mechanism of NF-kappa B activation that directly couples NF-kappa B to cellular tyrosine kinase.

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