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Leukemia. 2000 May;14(5):845-52.

Inactivation of wild-type BCR/ABL tyrosine kinase in hematopoietic cells by mild hyperthermia.

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Department of Medicine, St Elizabeth's Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02135, USA.


Temperature-sensitive mutants of BCR/ABL tyrosine kinase have been extensively used to study the mechanisms of cell transformation and signal transduction. However, little is known about the effect of temperature on the activity of wild-type BCR/ABL gene product. In this study, we demonstrate that in vivo tyrosine kinase activity of p210, p190 BCR/ABL and v-abl are temperature-sensitive when expressed in hematopoietic cells and decline when temperature is raised 2 degrees C above normal range. In vitro tyrosine kinase activities of purified recombinant Abl and immunoprecipitated p210 BCR/ABL were also sensitive to increased temperature. Tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins was markedly reduced in BCR/ABL transformed cells after 16 h at 39 degrees C, whereas the expression of BCR/ABL was unchanged. Temperature-induced downregulation of BCR/ABL kinase activity was reversible when cells were shifted back to 37 degrees C. The downregulation of Abl tyrosine kinase activity was not influenced by mutation or deletion of SH2 or SH3 domains or mutation of the GRB2 binding site. No increase in functional activity or expression of protein-tyrosine phosphatases, PTP-1B, SH-PTP1 or SH-PTP2 was detected in cells grown at 39 degrees C. Temperature-induced downregulation in tyrosine kinase activity correlated with decline in phosphotyrosine-associated PI 3-kinase whereas there was no change in growth factor independence of transformed hematopoietic cells. In conclusion, Abl tyrosine kinase has intrinsic sensitivity to temperature and BCR/ABL expressed in hematopoietic cells is downregulated by increasing temperature 2 degrees C. These observations provide a unique opportunity to identify cellular factor(s) which regulate BCR/ABL kinase in vivo and suggests possible novel treatment of CML by a mild hyperthermia.

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