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Mol Cancer Res. 2018 Jan;16(1):173-183. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-17-0242. Epub 2017 Oct 3.

Crk Tyrosine Phosphorylation Regulates PDGF-BB-inducible Src Activation and Breast Tumorigenicity and Metastasis.

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Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Cancer Center, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey.
Protein Quality Control and Diseases Laboratory, Cancer Center, School of Laboratory Medicine and Life Sciences, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China.
Cell Signaling Technology, Danvers, Massachusetts.
Raymond and Beverly Sackler Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Genetics and Genome Sciences, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.
Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Cancer Center, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey.


The activity of Src family kinases (Src being the prototypical member) is tightly regulated by differential phosphorylation on Tyr416 (positive) and Tyr527 (negative), a duet that reciprocally regulates kinase activity. The latter negative regulation of Src on Tyr527 is mediated by C-terminal Src kinase (CSK) that phosphorylates Tyr527 and maintains Src in a clamped negative regulated state by promoting an intramolecular association. Here it is demonstrated that the SH2- and SH3-domain containing adaptor protein CrkII, by virtue of its phosphorylation on Tyr239, regulates the Csk/Src signaling axis to control Src activation. Once phosphorylated, the motif (PIpYARVIQ) forms a consensus sequence for the SH2 domain of CSK to form a pTyr239-CSK complex. Functionally, when expressed in Crk-/- MEFs or in Crk+/+ HS683 cells, Crk Y239F delayed PDGF-BB-inducible Src Tyr416 phosphorylation. Moreover, expression of Crk Y239F in HS683 cells delayed Src kinase activation and suppressed the cell-invasive and -transforming phenotypes. Finally, through loss-of-function and epistasis experiments using CRISPR-Cas9-engineered 4T1 murine breast cancer cells, Crk Tyr239 is implicated in breast cancer tumor growth and metastasis in orthotopic immunocompetent 4T1 mice model of breast adenocarcinoma. These findings delineate a novel role for Crk Tyr239 phosphorylation in the regulation of Src kinases, as well as a potential molecular explanation for a long-standing question as to how Crk regulates the activation of Src kinases.Implications: These findings provide new perspectives on the versatility of Crk in cancer by demonstrating how Crk mechanistically drives, through a tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent manner, tumor growth, and metastasis. Mol Cancer Res; 16(1); 173-83. ©2017 AACR.

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