Molecular and cellular biology

The cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase FER is associated with the catenin-like substrate pp120 and is activated by growth factors.

PMID 7623846


The FER gene encodes a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase with a single SH2 domain and an extensive amino terminus. In order to understand the cellular function of the FER kinase, we analyzed the effect of growth factor stimulation on the phosphorylation and activity of FER. Stimulation of A431 cells and 3T3 fibroblasts with epidermal growth factor or platelet-derived growth factor results in the phosphorylation of FER and two associated polypeptides. The associated polypeptides were shown to be the epidermal growth factor receptor or the platelet-derived growth factor receptor and a previously identified target, pp120. Since pp120 had previously been shown to interact with components of the cadherin-catenin complex, these results implicate FER in the regulation of cell-cell interactions. The physical association of FER with pp120 was found to be constitutive and was mediated by a 400-amino-acid sequence in the amino terminus of FER. Analyses of that sequence revealed that it has the ability to form coiled coils and that it oligomerizes in vitro. The identification of a coiled coil sequence in the FER kinase and the demonstration that the sequence mediates association with a potential substrate suggest a novel mechanism for signal transduction by cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases.