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J Immunol. 1994 May 1;152(9):4347-57.

Activation of a novel serine/threonine kinase that phosphorylates c-Fos upon stimulation of T and B lymphocytes via antigen and cytokine receptors.

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UCLA Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles 90024-1680.


Ligation of Ag receptors in T and B lymphocytes initiates signal transduction cascades which alter the expression of genes that regulate cellular proliferation and differentiation. The transmission of signals from the membrane to the nucleus is mediated principally through the action of protein tyrosine and serine/threonine kinases. We have identified and characterized a novel serine/threonine kinase that phosphorylated the proto-oncogene product, c-Fos, and is termed Fos kinase. Fos kinase was rapidly activated after ligation of the CD3 and CD2 receptors in Jurkat and normal human T lymphocytes and in response to IL-6 and anti-IgM in the human B cell lines AF10 and Ramos, respectively. The phorbol ester, PMA, was also a potent inducer of Fos kinase activity in all of the above populations, suggesting that PKC plays a role in the regulation of this enzyme. Fos kinase phosphorylates c-Fos at a site near the C-terminus, as well as a peptide derived from this region (residues 359-370, RKGSSSNEPSSD), and Fos peptide competitively inhibited c-Fos phosphorylation. Fos kinase was shown to be distinct from other identified serine/threonine kinases, including protein kinase A, protein kinase C, casein kinase II, MAP kinases, p70S6K and p90RSK. Fos kinase was purified by anion exchange chromatography and exhibited an apparent M(r) = 65,000 and isoelectric point = 6.1. Fos kinase may play a role in transcriptional regulation through its capacity to phosphorylate c-Fos at a site required for expression of the transcriptional transrepressive activity of this molecule. Moreover, its rapid activation suggests it may have a wider role within signal transduction cascades in lymphocytes.

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