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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 1999 Sep-Dec;10(3-4):267-80.

Tec family of protein-tyrosine kinases: an overview of their structure and function.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi, Japan.


The Tec family is a recently emerging subfamily of non-receptor protein-tyrosine kinases (PTKs) represented by its first member, Tec. This family is composed of five members, namely Tec, Btk. Itk/Emt/Tsk, Bmx and Txk/Rlk. The most characteristic feature of this family is the presence of a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain in their protein structure. The PH domain is known to bind phosphoinositides; on this basis, Tec family PTKs may act as merge points of phosphotyrosine-mediated and phospholipid-mediated signaling systems. Many Tec family proteins are abundantly expressed in hematopoietic tissues, and are presumed to play important roles in the growth and differentiation processes of blood cells. Supporting this, mutations in the Btk gene cause X chromosome-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA) in humans and X chromosome-linked immunodeficiency (Xid) in mice, indicating that Btk activity is indispensable for B-cell ontogeny. In addition, Tec family kinases have been shown to be involved in the intracellular signaling mechanisms of cytokine receptors, lymphocyte surface antigens, heterotrimeric G-protein-coupled receptors and integrin molecules. Efforts are being made to identify molecules which interact with Tec kinases to transfer Tec-mediated signals in vivo. Candidates for such second messengers include PLC-gamma2, guanine nucleotide exchange factors for RhoA and TFII-I/BAP-135. This review summarizes current knowledge concerning the input and output factors affecting the Tec kinases.

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