Shedding of tyrosine and serine/threonine ecto-protein kinases from human leukemic cells

Yoav Paas, Zvi Fishelson

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30 Scopus citations


Ecto-protein kinases (ecto-PK), primarily of the serine/threonine kinase type, have been previously described on the surface of various normal, transformed, and tumor cells. We have found that in the presence of ATP and Mg2+, exogenously added substrates such as phosvitin and poly(Glu4-Tyr) are phosphorylated by intact K562 erythroleukemia, HL60 promyelocytic leukemia, and U937 histiocytic leukemia human cells. Phosphoamino acid analysis indicated that phosvitin, histone H2B, casein, and protamine are phosphorylated on serine and threonine residues, whereas poly(Glu4-Tyr) is phosphorylated on tyrosine. We also present evidence showing that the C9 complement protein, a key component of the membranolytic protein complex of the complement system, is exclusively phosphorylated by the K562 cells on serine residues. Phosphorylation of poly(Glu4-Tyr) is markedly enhanced by Mn2+, whereas C9 phosphorylation is rather inhibited by Mn2+. It is concluded that human leukemic cells express on their surface two types of ecto-PK, one phosphorylating serines and threonines and one specific to tyrosines. The ecto-PKs are spontaneously shed from fully viable cells into the medium in a temperature-dependent manner. Upon sedimentation of cell supernatants at 100, 000 g, the ecto-PKs are found sedimented with small membrane vesicles. Treatment of intact K562 cells or of released membrane vesicles with bacterial phospholipase C, but not with trypsin or pronase, releases the two types of ecto-PK from the cell or vesicle membrane, respectively. This is accompanied by a marked increase in the released phosphorylating activity. It is, therefore, suggested that these ecto-PKs are either covalently linked to phospholipids or strongly attached to lipid-anchored molecules in the cell surface membrane. Several endogenous proteins in the released membranes are phosphorylated by the ecto-PKs on serines and to a lesser extend on threonines. Two proteins (PTP79 and PTP54) are phosphorylated in a manganese-dependent manner on tyrosines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-788
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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