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J Biol Chem. 1999 Dec 31;274(53):37525-32.

The adapter protein Crkl links Cbl to C3G after integrin ligation and enhances cell migration.

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Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Crkl, an SH2-SH3-SH3 adapter protein, is one of the major tyrosine phosphoproteins detected in cells from patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Crkl binds to BCR/ABL through its N-terminal SH3 domain and is known to interact with several signaling proteins that have been implicated in integrin signaling, including Cbl, Cas, Hef-1, and paxillin. We have previously shown that overexpression of Crkl enhances adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins through beta(1) integrins. In this study, the effects of Crkl on spontaneous and chemokine-directed migration of the hematopoietic cell line Ba/F3 were examined. Full-length, SH2-, and SH3(N)-domain deletion mutants of Crkl were expressed transiently as fusion proteins with green fluorescent protein. Successfully transfected cells were isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. The ability of these cells to migrate across a fibronectin-coated membrane, either spontaneously or in response to the chemokine stromal-derived factor-1alpha, was determined. Cells expressing green fluorescent protein alone were not distinguishable from untransfected or mock transfected Ba/F3 cells. However, Ba/F3 cells overexpressing full-length Crkl were found to have an increase in spontaneous migration of 2.8 +/- 0.6-fold in seven independent assays. The enhancement of migration required both the SH2 domain and the N-terminal SH3 domain. Migration in response to stromal-derived factor-1alpha was not significantly enhanced by overexpression of Crkl. Overexpression of Crkii also augmented spontaneous migration but to a lesser degree than did Crkl. Because the SH2 domain was required for enhanced migration, we looked for changes in phosphotyrosine containing proteins coprecipitating with Crkl, but not Crkl DeltaSH2, after integrin cross-linking. Full-length Crkl, but not CrklDeltaSH2, coprecipitated with a single major tyrosine phosphoprotein with an M(r) of approximately 120 kDa, identified as Cbl. The major Crkl SH3-binding protein in these cells was found to be the guanine nucleotide exchange factor, C3G. Interestingly, overexpression of C3G also enhanced migration, suggesting that a Cbl-Crkl-C3G complex may be involved in migration signaling in Ba/F3 cells. These data suggest that Crkl is involved in signaling pathways that regulate migration, possibly through a complex with Cbl and C3G.

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