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Nature. 1991 Oct 31;353(6347):855-8.

Phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of the high-affinity receptor for immunoglobulin E immediately after receptor engagement and disengagement.

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Molecular Allergy and Immunology Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland 20852.


Triggering of mast cells and basophils by immunoglobulin E (IgE) and antigen induces various biochemical signals, including tyrosine kinase activation, which lead to cell degranulation and the release of mediators of the allergic reaction. The high-affinity receptor for IgE (Fc epsilon RI) responsible for initiating these events is a complex structure composed of an IgE-binding alpha-chain, a beta-chain and a homodimer of gamma-chains. It has been assumed that beta and gamma, which have extensive cytoplasmic domains, play an important but undefined role in coupling Fc epsilon RI to signal transduction mechanisms. Here we show that Fc epsilon RI engagement induces immediate in vivo phosphorylation on beta (tyrosine and serine) and gamma (tyrosine and threonine) by at least two different non-receptor kinases. We take advantage of unique features of this receptor system to demonstrate that the phosphorylation signal is restricted to activated receptors and is immediately reversible upon receptor disengagement by undefined phosphatases. Rapid phosphorylation and dephosphorylation may be a general mechanism to couple and uncouple activated receptors to other effector molecules. This could be particularly relevant to other multimeric receptors containing Fc epsilon RI gamma-chains or the related zeta and eta chains such as the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) and the low-affinity receptor for immunoglobulin G (Fc gamma RIII, CD16).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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