A 31-amino-acid N-terminal extension regulates c-Crk binding to tyrosine- phosphorylated proteins

J. E. Fajardo, R. B. Birge, H. Hanafusa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Overproduction of v-Crk, but not of c-Crk, in chicken embryo fibroblasts results in cell transformation. The transforming activity of v-Crk mutants correlates with their ability to cause increased tyrosine phosphorylation of specific cellular proteins, a property that depends on the binding of v-Crk to phosphotyrosine residues via its SH2 domain. In this study, proteins translated in rabbit reticulocyte lysates were used to analyze interactions between Crk derivatives and tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins, particularly the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor. The results demonstrate that the binding affinity of c-Crk is much lower than that of v-Crk, despite the fact that both proteins contain identical SH2 domains. Moreover, a 31-amino-acid N-terminal extension of c-Crk, resulting from upstream translational initiation at a CUG codon, significantly increases the ability of the resulting protein to bind to phosphotyrosine-containing proteins. Of those 31 amino acids, 24 can be found in the 27-amino-acid region between Gag and Crk sequences in v-Crk, and removal of this region results in a protein with lower affinity toward the EGF receptor. In addition, fusion of Gag to the amino terminus of c-Crk yields a protein with a binding activity that is lower than that of v-Crk but significantly higher than that of c-Crk without the fusion. These data suggest that sequences N terminal to the Crk SH2 regulate binding activity to tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins and that the amino acids encoded immediately 5' to the c-Crk initiator AUG specifically increase binding affinity. In contrast, deletion of one or two SH3 domains of c-Crk proteins did not change their affinity for the EGF receptor. These results were confirmed in vivo by using A431-derived cell lines overproducing either the chicken c-Crk protein or c-Crk with the 31-amino-acid N-terminal extension. Furthermore, the in vivo experiments suggest that binding of Crk proteins to the stimulated EGF receptor results in Crk phosphorylation and subsequent loss of binding affinity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7295-7302
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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