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J Biol Chem. 2000 Oct 20;275(42):32837-45.

Sprouty proteins are targeted to membrane ruffles upon growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase activation. Identification of a novel translocation domain.

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  • 1Signal Transduction Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, 30 Medical Dr., Singapore 117609, Republic of Singapore.


Sprouty (Spry) was first identified in a genetic screen in Drosophila to be an antagonist of fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor (EGF) signaling, seemingly by inhibiting the Ras/MAP kinase pathway. Data base searches lead to the identification and cloning of, to date, four mammalian sprouty genes. The primary sequences of the mammalian sprouty gene products share a well conserved cysteine-rich C-terminal domain with the Drosophila protein. The N-terminal regions, however, do not exhibit significant homology. This study aimed at determining the disposition of Spry proteins in intact cells before and after stimulation of the EGF receptor tyrosine kinase. Full-length or deletion mutants of Spry, tagged at the N termini with the FLAG-epitope, were expressed in COS-1 cells by transient transfection and analyzed by immunofluorescence microscopy before and after EGF stimulation of the cells. In unstimulated cells, the Spry proteins were distributed throughout the cytosol except for human Sprouty2 (hSpry2), which, although generally located in the cytosol, co-localized with microtubules. In all cases, the Spry proteins underwent rapid translocation to membrane ruffles following EGF stimulation. The optimal translocation domain was identified by deletion and immunofluorescence analysis to be a highly conserved 105-amino acid domain in the C-terminal half of the hSpry2 protein. The translocation of this conserved domain, based on hSpry2 data, was independent of the activation of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase.

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