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Biochem Pharmacol. 1991 Oct 9;42(9):1661-71.

Specific inhibition of cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinases by herbimycin A in vitro.

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Department of Antibiotics, National Institute of Health, Tokyo, Japan.


Herbimycin A is an antibiotic which reverses transformation caused by various src related oncogenes. The reversion of transformation is restricted to cells transformed by tyrosine kinase coding oncogenes, and accompanies a decrease in kinase activity of the oncogene products. We have shown in vitro that herbimycin A directly inactivates p60v-src kinase by conjugating with SH group(s) of the kinase, raising the possibility that the molecular target of the antibiotic for reversion of v-src transformation is the p60v-src itself. To investigate the relevance of its in vitro tyrosine kinase inactivating activity to in vivo transformation reversing activity, we examined the specificity of herbimycin A for inhibition of cAMP-dependent kinase, protein kinase C and p210bcr-abl tyrosine kinase in vitro. Herbimycin A had no inhibitory effect on the activities of cAMP-dependent kinase or protein kinase C, whereas the SH-reagent N-(9-acridinyl)maleimide, which inactivates p60v-crc in vitro by a mechanism similar to that of herbimycin A, blocked the two serine/threonine kinases. On the other hand, the activity of p210bcr-abl tyrosine kinase was inhibited by herbimycin A treatment. The results indicate that herbimycin A specifically binds to reactive SH group(s) of cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinases, and confer the biochemical basis for its selectivity in reversing cell transformation.

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