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receptor tyrosine kinases

Sunday 13 July 2003

Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) control a wide variety of processes in multicellular organisms, including proliferation, differentiation, migration and survival.

Their activity is tightly controlled through the coordinated action of both positive and negative regulators that function at multiple levels of the signal transduction cascade, and at different time points within the growth-factor-induced response. When this process goes awry, the outcome can be developmental defects and malignancy.

It is known that the bigger expression of the tyrosin kinase receptors in tumors is associated with an aggressive phenotype. For example overexpression of ephA2 or EGFR.

Activation of RTKs

The activation of Tyrosin Kinase Receptors (RTKs) produces several effects about cellular response. These are membrane receptors that bind differentiation signals, grow factors and cellular mediators. The interaction with their ligand causes the phosphorilation and internalization in the endosome.

By a metabolic way, these receptors are degradated into the proteasome to small peptides that are expressed over the cellular surface joined to MHC class I mollecules, getting a better immunogenic recognition of the tumor cells.


- Src kinases family
- ephrins (EPHs) and ephrin receptors (EPHRs)
- sprouty proteins
- type 3 receptor tyrosine kinases (type 3 RTKs)


- loss-of-function mutations
- gain-of-function mutations


- dwarfism
- craniosynostosis
- heritable cancer susceptibility syndromes
- venous malformation
- piebaldism
- cancer

  • The deregulation of tyrosine kinase receptors (RTKs) is frequent in human tumors and is often associated with the acquisition of an aggressive phenotype.


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