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J Biol Chem. 2006 Dec 15;281(50):38930-40. Epub 2006 Oct 19.

The membrane-proximal region of the thrombopoietin receptor confers its high surface expression by JAK2-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


Janus tyrosine kinase 2 (JAK2) is essential for signaling by the thrombopoietin (TpoR) and erythropoietin (EpoR) receptors. In the absence of JAK2 most EpoR molecules are retained in the endoplasmic reticulum in an Endo H-sensitive form. In contrast, we show that in the absence of JAK2 a large fraction of the TpoR is processed to the mature Endo H-resistant form and reaches the cell surface. By studying chimeras of the TpoR and EpoR we show that high surface expression of the TpoR is entirely conferred by the membrane-proximal region of the intracellular domain that includes the juxtamembrane, Box 1, and Box 2 regions. The TpoR intracellular domain shows similar effects on receptor endocytosis rate as that of the EpoR, but does stabilize the mature receptor isoform from degradation. Co-expression of JAK2 further stabilizes mature TpoR and thus further increases its surface expression. This JAK2 effect depends on the Box 1 region, the only JAK2 interacting site in the TpoR. By contrast, EpoR requires Box 1 as well as the flanking 20 residues on the C-terminal side for JAK2 interaction and JAK2-dependent surface expression. Our study suggests that whereas cell surface expression of type I cytokine receptors requires their cognate JAKs, the mechanisms governing receptor-JAK interactions differ among receptors interacting with the same JAK protein.

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