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Genes Dev. 2010 Dec 1;24(23):2666-77. doi: 10.1101/gad.1964410.

Inhibition of RIP2's tyrosine kinase activity limits NOD2-driven cytokine responses.

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Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


Upon intracellular bacterial exposure, the Crohn's disease and sarcoidosis susceptibility protein NOD2 (nucleotide oligomerization domain protein 2) binds to the protein kinase RIP2 (receptor-interacting protein 2) to coordinate NF-κB (nuclear factor κ B)-mediated cytokine responses. While RIP2 clearly has kinase activity, the function of its kinase domain has been enigmatic. Although originally classified as a serine-threonine kinase based on homology scans, we find that RIP2 also has tyrosine kinase activity. RIP2 undergoes autophosphorylation on Tyr 474 (Y474). This phosphorylation event is necessary for effective NOD2 signaling and does not occur in the presence of the most common Crohn's disease-associated NOD2 allele. Given this tyrosine kinase activity, a small-molecule inhibitor screen designed to identify pharmacologic agents that inhibit RIP2's tyrosine kinase activity was performed. At nanomolar concentrations, the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) were found to inhibit both RIP2 tyrosine phosphorylation and MDP (muramyl dipeptide)-induced cytokine release in a variety of NOD2 hyperactivation states. This effect is specific for RIP2 and does not depend on EGFR. The finding that RIP2 has tyrosine kinase activity and the finding that gefitinib and erlotinib, two agents already used clinically for cancer chemotherapy, can inhibit this activity suggest that RIP2's tyrosine kinase activity could be targeted specifically in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

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