c-Abl, the product of the cellular homologue of the transforming gene of Abelson murine leukaemia virus, has been a protein in search of a purpose for over two decades. Because c-Abl is implicated in the pathogenesis of several human leukaemias, understanding the functions of Abl is an important goal. Recently, biochemical and genetic approaches have converged to shed new light on the mechanism of regulation of c-Abl kinase activity and the multiple roles of c-Abl in cellular physiology. This review summarizes our current understanding of the many facets of c-Abl biology, emphasizing recent studies on Drosophila and mammalian Abl.
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