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PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e39141. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039141. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

TYK2 kinase activity is required for functional type I interferon responses in vivo.

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Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.


Tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) is a member of the Janus kinase (JAK) family and is involved in cytokine signalling. In vitro analyses suggest that TYK2 also has kinase-independent, i.e., non-canonical, functions. We have generated gene-targeted mice harbouring a mutation in the ATP-binding pocket of the kinase domain. The Tyk2 kinase-inactive (Tyk2(K923E)) mice are viable and show no gross abnormalities. We show that kinase-active TYK2 is required for full-fledged type I interferon- (IFN) induced activation of the transcription factors STAT1-4 and for the in vivo antiviral defence against viruses primarily controlled through type I IFN actions. In addition, TYK2 kinase activity was found to be required for the protein's stability. An inhibitory function was only observed upon over-expression of TYK2(K923E)in vitro. Tyk2(K923E) mice represent the first model for studying the kinase-independent function of a JAK in vivo and for assessing the consequences of side effects of JAK inhibitors.

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