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Leukemia. 2006 Apr;20(4):572-82.

Fusion tyrosine kinase mediated signalling pathways in the transformation of haematopoietic cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Division of Molecular Histopathology, University of Cambridge, Lab Block Level 3, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.


The fusion tyrosine kinases (FTKs) are generated by chromosomal translocations creating bipartite proteins in which the kinase is hyperactivated by an adjoining oligomerization domain. Autophosphorylation of the FTK generates a 'signalosome', an ensemble of signalling proteins that transduce signals to downstream pathways. At the earliest stages of oncogenesis, FTKs can mimic mitogenic cytokine signalling pathways involving the GAB-2 adaptor protein and signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) factors, generating replicative stress and thereby promoting a mutator phenotype. In parallel, FTKs couple to survival pathways that upregulate prosurvival proteins such as Bcl-xL, so preventing DNA-damage-induced apoptosis. Following transformation, FTKs induce resistance to genotoxic attack by upregulating DNA repair mechanisms such as STAT5-dependent RAD51 transcription. The phenomenon of 'oncogene addiction' reflects the continued requirement of an active FTK 'signalosome' to mediate survival and mitogenic signals involving the PI 3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein stress-activated protein kinase pathways, and the nuclear factor-kappa B, activator protein 1 and STAT transcription factors. The available data so far suggest that FTKs, with some possible exceptions, induce and maintain the transformed state using similar panoplies of signals, a finding with important therapeutic implications. The FTK signalling field has matured to an exciting phase in which rapid advances are facilitating rational drug design.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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