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J Biol Chem. 2010 Jan 1;285(1):95-103. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.059758. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Functional characterization of the kinase activation loop in nucleophosmin (NPM)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) using tandem affinity purification and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta and Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2Z2, Canada.


Previous studies have shown that the kinase activation loop (KAL) of the oncogenic fusion protein NPM-ALK regulates its overall tyrosine phosphorylation status and tumorigenicity. Using tandem affinity purification-mass spectrometry, we assessed how the KAL of NPM-ALK regulates the phosphorylation status of its individual tyrosines. Using the lysates of GP293 cells transfected with NPM-ALK, our highly reproducible results showed evidence of phosphorylation in all 3 tyrosines in KAL and 8 tyrosines outside KAL. We created 7 KAL mutants, each of which carried a Tyr-to-Phe mutation of >or=1 of the 3 tyrosines in KAL. A complete loss of the 8 phosphotyrosines outside KAL was found in 3 KAL mutants, and their oncogenicity (assessed by cell viability, colony formation, and the ability to phosphorylate effector proteins) was abrogated. A partial loss of the 8 phosphotyrosines was found in 4 KAL mutants, but their oncogenicity did not show simple correlation with the number of residual phosphotyrosines. Tyr-to-Phe mutations of each of the 8 phosphotyrosines outside KAL did not result in a significant decrease in the oncogenicity. In conclusion, we have provided details of how the KAL in NPM-ALK regulates its tyrosine phosphorylation pattern. Our results challenge some of the current concepts regarding the relationship between the tyrosine phosphorylation and oncogenicity of NPM-ALK.

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