Role of the ABL oncogene tyrosine kinase activity in human leukaemia.
A great deal of information has emerged over the past decade regarding the gene structures and corresponding protein products of the cellular and transformation-associated forms of the ABL tyrosine kinase family. Many reports have also detailed the biological effects of these proteins (particularly the viral ABL forms) on a broad range of cell types. However, in spite of all these research efforts, the precise role of the ABL gene in normal and neoplastic growth remains to be determined. To elucidate the mechanism of action of normal and altered ABL proteins, it is imperative to identify their relevant cellular substrates and establish the role of the ABL target proteins in transformation and normal cellular growth. The availability of temperature-sensitive ABL proteins, coupled with the use of sensitive anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies, should be useful in this respect. Purification of enzymatically active, intact forms of the ABL proteins produced in insect cells by employing baculovirus expression vectors should permit direct comparison of the biochemical properties and tertiary structures of the various members of the ABL protein kinase family. Such studies will aid in understanding the nature of the alteration of ABL which results in the activation of its transforming potential. Furthermore, the availability of purified ABL proteins should permit examination of interactions of ABL with other growth-regulatory proteins, such as growth factor receptors. It has been shown that transformation-associated ABL proteins interact with the IL-3, IL-2 and GM-CSF growth-factor pathways. These and other components of the cellular signalling pathways are potential ABL targets. The elucidation of ABL function by a variety of approaches such as those described above will ultimately aid in the development of far-reaching therapeutic treatments for at least two forms of human leukaemia: Ph positive CML and Ph positive ALL.
Pendergast, AM; Witte, ON
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