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Leuk Lymphoma. 1997 Mar;25(1-2):91-6.

Recent progress on the role of Axl, a receptor tyrosine kinase, in malignant transformation of myeloid leukemias.

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  • 1Virchow Klinikum, Medizinische Fakultät der Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Abteilung für Innere Medizin-Hämatologie, Germany.


Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) play an important role in the signal transduction of normal and malignant cells. There are different families of RTKs which are mainly characterized by differences in the ligang-binding extracellular domains. Axl (or UFO/Ark) is the first member of a new class of RTK with two fibronectin type III domains and two immunoglobulin-like domains present at the extracellular domain. The axl-gene has been isolated by means of gene transfection studies using DNA of patients with chronic myelogeneous leukemia. For a previous and the present study, we used a sensitive reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay to detect axl's mRNA in cells from normal and malignant hematopoietic tissue. Axl's mRNA expression was mainly detected in myelo-monocytic cells, whereas much weaker transcription was seen in lymphatic cells and in lymphatic leukemias. In normal bone marrow, axl was heavily transcribed in marrow stromal cells. Further, we analysed Axl protein expression using monoclonal antibody M50 in peripheral stem cell harvests; in most harvests, no co-expression of CD34 and Axl was detected. However, in one patient with AML in complete remission, Axl was co-expressed on 80% of the CD34-positive population. These data show that axl is preferentially expressed in monocytes and stromal cells. Furthermore, a fraction of CD34-positive progenitor cells may express Axl. The exact mechanism for transformation of myeloid progenitor cells through Axl, however, remains to be determined.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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