Feb 2011 The Journal of biological chemistry

Mechanisms of STAT protein activation by oncogenic KIT mutants in neoplastic mast cells.


Chaix A, Lopez S, Voisset E, Gros L, Dubreuil P, De Sepulveda P


Mutations in the c-kit gene occur in the vast majority of mastocytosis. In adult patients as well as in the cell line derived from mast cell neoplasms, the mutations occur almost exclusively at amino acid 816 within the kinase domain of KIT. Among the downstream effectors of KIT signaling, STAT3 and STAT5 have been shown to be critical for cell proliferation elicited by the KIT-Asp(816) mutant protein. However, little is known about the mechanisms of activation of STAT proteins. In this study, we identify and clarify the contribution of various STAT kinases in two widely used neoplastic mast cell lines, P815 and HMC-1. We show that STAT1, -3, and -5 proteins are activated downstream of the KIT-Asp(816) mutant. All three STAT proteins are located in the nucleus and are phosphorylated on serine residues. KIT-Asp(816) mutant can directly phosphorylate STATs on the activation-specific tyrosine residues in vitro. However, within cells, SRC family kinases and JAKs diversely contribute to tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT proteins downstream of the KIT mutant. Using a panel of inhibitors, we provide evidence for the implication or exclusion of serine/threonine kinases as responsible for serine phosphorylation of STAT1, -3, and -5 in the two cell lines. Finally, we show that only STAT5 is transcriptionally active in these cells. This suggests that the contribution of STAT1 and STAT3 downstream of KIT mutant is independent of their transcription factor function.

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