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Curr Biol. 1996 Aug 1;6(8):981-8.

Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp) is a binding partner for c-Src family protein-tyrosine kinases.

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  • 1Leukaemia Research Fund Centre for Childhood Leukaemia, Molecular Haematology Unit, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, LondonWC1N 1EH, UK.



Receptor-mediated signal transduction requires the assembly of multimeric complexes of signalling proteins, and a number of conserved protein domains, such as the SH2, SH3 and PH domains, are involved in mediating protein-protein interactions in such complexes. The identification of binding partners for these domains has added considerably to our understanding of signal-transduction pathways, and the purpose of this work was to identify SH3-binding proteins in haematopoietic cells.


We performed affinity-chromatography experiments with a panel of GST-SH3 fusion proteins (composed of glutathione-S-transferase appended to various SH3 domains) to search for SH3-binding proteins in a human megakaryocytic cell line. Protein microsequencing identified one of the SH3-binding proteins as WASp, the protein that is defective in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) and isolated X-linked thrombocytopenia. WASp bound preferentially in vitro to SH3 domains from c-Src family kinases, and analysis of proteins expressed in insect cells using a baculovirus vector demonstrated a specific interaction between WASp and the Fyn protein-tyrosine kinase. Finally, in vivo experiments showed that WASp and Fyn physically associate in human haematopoietic cells.


Haematopoietic cells from individuals with WAS exhibit defects in cell morphology and signal transduction, including reduced proliferation and tyrosine phosphorylation in response to stimulatory factors. Members of the c Src family of protein-tyrosine kinases, including Fyn, are involved in a range of signalling pathways - such as those regulating cytoskeletal structure - in both haematopoietic and non-haematopoietic cells. Our data suggest that binding of Fyn to WASp may be a critical event in such signalling pathways in haematopoietic cells.

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