Tyrosine kinases are implicated in the growth and differentiation of erythroid cells. Aberrant expression and structural alterations of certain tyrosine kinases, such as erbB and sea, are known to trigger erythroleukemia development. To facilitate our understanding of the signal transduction pathways involved in erythroid differentiation and leukemic transformation, we have applied a recently developed tyrosine kinase profile technique to identify the tyrosine kinases and some novel serine/threonine kinases expressed in normal chicken erythroid progenitor cells that respond to TGFα (TGFα-EB), and erythroblasts transformed by viruses encoding v-erbB (v- erbB-EB) and v-sea (v-sea-EB). Our results reveal that the non-receptor tyrosine kinases, Abl, Fyn, Lyn, Btk and Csk, are expressed in all three cell types. The expression level of Btk, a tyrosine kinase implicated in Bruton's syndrome, is exceptionally high in the erythroblastoid cell line 6C2, transformed by the v-erbB carrying avian erythroblastosis virus, AEV-ES4. We have also uncovered a new STE-20-related serine/threonine kinase, KFC, which is abundantly expressed in both the TGFα-stimulated erythroid progenitor cells and v-sea-transformed erythroblasts. Based on sequence homology of the kinase domain, KFC appears to be the first member of a new subfamily of STE- 20-like kinases.
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