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Le Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille fête ses 50 ans ! -

Jan 2013 PloS one

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors induce down-regulation of c-Kit by targeting the ATP pocket.


D'allard D, Gay J, Descarpentries C, Frisan E, Adam K, Verdier F, Floquet C, Dubreuil P, Lacombe C, Fontenay M, Mayeux P, Kosmider O


The stem cell factor receptor (SCF) c-Kit plays a pivotal role in regulating cell proliferation and survival in many cell types. In particular, c-Kit is required for early amplification of erythroid progenitors, while it must disappear from cell surface for the cell entering the final steps of maturation in an erythropoietin-dependent manner. We initially observed that imatinib (IM), an inhibitor targeting the tyrosine kinase activity of c-Kit concomitantly down-regulated the expression of c-Kit and accelerated the Epo-driven differentiation of erythroblasts in the absence of SCF. We investigated the mechanism by which IM or related masitinib (MA) induce c-Kit down-regulation in the human UT-7/Epo cell line. We found that the down-regulation of c-Kit in the presence of IM or MA was inhibited by a pre-incubation with methyl-β-cyclodextrin suggesting that c-Kit was internalized in the absence of ligand. By contrast to SCF, the internalization induced by TKI was independent of the E3 ubiquitin ligase c-Cbl. Furthermore, c-Kit was degraded through lysosomal, but not proteasomal pathway. In pulse-chase experiments, IM did not modulate c-Kit synthesis or maturation. Analysis of phosphotyrosine peptides in UT-7/Epo cells treated or not with IM show that IM did not modify overall tyrosine phosphorylation in these cells. Furthermore, we showed that a T670I mutation preventing the full access of IM to the ATP binding pocket, did not allow the internalization process in the presence of IM. Altogether these data show that TKI-induced internalization of c-Kit is linked to a modification of the integrity of ATP binding pocket.

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