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Heme controls the regulation of protein tyrosine kinases Jak2 and Src.

Yao X., Balamurugan P., Arvey A., Leslie C., Zhang L.

Protein tyrosine kinases play key roles in many molecular and cellular processes in diverse living organisms. Their proper functioning is crucial for the normal growth, development, and health in humans, whereas their dysfunction can cause serious diseases, including various cancers. As such, intense studies have been performed to understand the molecular mechanisms by which the activities of protein tyrosine kinases are regulated in mammalian cells. Particularly, small molecules that can modulate the activity of tyrosine kinases are of great importance for discovering therapeutic drug candidates for numerous diseases. Notably, heme cannot only serve as a prosthetic group for hemoglobins and enzymes, but it also is a small signaling molecule that can control the activity of diverse signaling and regulatory proteins. Using a computational search, we found that a group of non-membrane spanning tyrosine kinases contains one or more CP motifs that can potentially bind to heme and mediate heme regulation. We then used experimental approaches to determine whether heme can affect the activity of any of these tyrosine kinases. We found that heme indeed affects the phosphorylation of key tyrosine residues in Jak2 and Src, and is therefore able to modulate Jak2 and Src activity. Further experiments showed that Jak2 and Src bind to heme and that the presence of heme alters the sensitivity of Jak2 and Src to trypsin digestion. These results suggest that heme actively interacts with Jak2 and Src and alters their conformation.

Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 403:30-35(2010) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]