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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jul 4;283(27):18566-72. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M800991200. Epub 2008 May 12.

Basal ubiquitin-independent internalization of interferon alpha receptor is prevented by Tyk2-mediated masking of a linear endocytic motif.

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  • 1Department of Animal Biology and Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Linear endocytic motifs of signaling receptors as well as their ubiquitination determine the rate of ligand-induced endocytosis that mediates down-regulation of these receptors and restricts the magnitude and duration of their respective signal transduction pathways. We previously hypothesized that, in the absence of its cognate ligand, type I interferon (IFN), the IFNalpha receptor chain 1 (IFNAR1) receptor chain is protected from basal endocytosis by a hypothetical masking complex that prevents the Tyr-based endocytic motif within IFNAR1 from interacting with components of the adaptin protein complex 2 (AP2). Here we identify a member of the Janus kinase (Jak) family, Tyk2, as a component of such a masking complex. In the absence of ligand or of receptor chain ubiquitination, binding of Janus kinase Tyk2 within the proximity of the Tyr-based linear motif of IFNAR1 is required to prevent IFNAR1 internalization and to maintain its cell surface expression. Furthermore, interaction experiments revealed that Tyk2 physically shields this Tyr-based motif from the recognition by the AP50 subunit of AP2. These data delineate a long-sought ligand- and ubiquitin-independent mechanism by which Tyk2 contributes to both the regulation of total IFNAR1 levels as well as the regulation of the cell surface density of this receptor chain.

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