The Biochemical journal

Transforming JAK1 mutations exhibit differential signalling, FERM domain requirements and growth responses to interferon-γ.

PMID 20868368


Recent work has highlighted roles for JAK (Janus kinase) family members in haemopoietic diseases. Although sequencing efforts have uncovered transforming JAK1 mutations in acute leukaemia, they have also identified non-transforming JAK1 mutations. Thus with limited knowledge of the mechanisms of JAK1 activation by mutation, sequencing may not readily identify transforming mutations. Therefore we sought to further understand the repertoire of transforming mutations of JAK1. We identified seven randomly generated transforming JAK1 mutations, including V658L and a deletion of amino acids 629-630 in the pseudokinase domain, as well as L910P, F938S, P960S, K1026E and Y1035C within the kinase domain. These mutations led to differential signalling activation, but exhibited similar transforming abilities, in BaF3 cells. Interestingly, these properties did not always correlate with JAK1 activation-loop phosphorylation. We also identified a JAK1 mutant that did not require a functional FERM (4.1/ezrin/radixin/moesin) domain for transformation. Although we isolated a mutation of JAK1 at residue Val658, which is found mutated in acute leukaemia patients, most of the mutations we identified are within the kinase domain and have yet to be identified in patients. Interestingly, compared with cells expressing JAK1-V658F, cells expressing these mutants had higher STAT1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 1) phosphorylation and were more sensitive to interferon-γ-mediated growth inhibition. The differential STAT1 activation and interferon-sensitivity of JAK1 mutants may contribute to the determination of which specific JAK1 mutations ultimately contribute to disease and thus are identified in patients. Our characterization of these novel mutations contributes to a better understanding of mutational activation of JAK1.