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Oncogene. 1997 Feb 6;14(5):533-42.

The Eek receptor, a member of the Eph family of tyrosine protein kinases, can be activated by three different Eph family ligands.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-4000, USA.


The Eph family of receptors, the largest subgroup within the tyrosine protein kinase receptor family, are comprised of at least thirteen members, many of which are predominantly expressed in the developing and adult nervous system. In this study, we have isolated a full-length cDNA, encoding the mouse homologue of a previous partially characterized Eek protein, a member of Eph receptor tyrosine kinase family. In a comparison of the amino acid sequences of various Eph family members, Eek is most similar to Ehk-3/MDK1, Sek/Cek8, Ehk-2, Hek/Mek4/Cek4, and Bsk/Ehk1/Rek7/Cek7, which are predominantly expressed in the nervous system. Additionally, we have used a low-stringency PCR cloning technique to identify ligands, related to B61, that may interact with Eek. Three different GPI-linked ligands, namely Elf-1/Cek7-L, Ehk1-L/Efl-2/Lerk3 and AL-1/RAGS, were isolated from mouse brain. To study the functional interactions between these ligands and the Eek receptors, we have constructed chimeric ligands consisting of the Fc portion of human IgG fused to their carboxyl-terminus. These chimeric ligands bound to, and activated both the Eek receptors and the Eek-TrkB chimeric receptors expressed in NIH3T3 cells. These findings suggest that Eek receptor can be activated by at least three different GPI-linked ligands.

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