Cracking the Molecular Origin of Intrinsic Tyrosine Kinase Activity through Analysis of Pathogenic Gain-of-Function Mutations

School of Pharmacy, Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325035, China.
Cell Reports (Impact Factor: 8.36). 07/2013; 4(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.025
Source: PubMed


The basal (ligand-independent) kinase activity of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) promotes trans-phosphorylation on activation loop tyrosines upon ligand-induced receptor dimerization, thus upregulating intrinsic kinase activity and triggering intracellular signaling. To understand the molecular determinants of intrinsic kinase activity, we used X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy to analyze pathogenic FGF receptor mutants with gradations in gain-of-function activity. These structural analyses revealed a "two-state" dynamic equilibrium model whereby the kinase toggles between an "inhibited," structurally rigid ground state and a more dynamic and heterogeneous active state. The pathogenic mutations have different abilities to shift this equilibrium toward the active state. The increase in the fractional population of FGF receptors in the active state correlates with the degree of gain-of-function activity and clinical severity. Our data demonstrate that the fractional population of RTKs in the active state determines intrinsic kinase activity and underscore how a slight increase in the active population of kinases can have grave consequences for human health.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The K650E gain-of-function mutation in the tyrosine kinase domain of FGF receptor 3 (FGFR3) causes Thanatophoric Dysplasia type II, a neonatal lethal congenital dwarfism syndrome, and when acquired somatically, it contributes to carcinogenesis. In this report, we determine the crystal structure of the FGFR3 kinase domain harboring this pathogenic mutation and show that the mutation introduces a network of intramolecular hydrogen bonds to stabilize the active-state conformation. In the crystal, the mutant FGFR3 kinases are caught in the act of trans-phosphorylation on a kinase insert autophosphorylation site, emphasizing the fact that the K650E mutation circumvents the requirement for A-loop tyrosine phosphorylation in kinase activation. Analysis of this trans-phosphorylation complex sheds light onto the determinants of tyrosine trans-phosphorylation specificity. We propose that the targeted inhibition of this pathogenic FGFR3 kinase may be achievable by small molecule kinase inhibitors that selectively bind the active-state conformation of FGFR3 kinase.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Structure
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To decipher the molecular basis for RET kinase activation and oncogenic deregulation, we defined the temporal sequence of RET autophosphorylation by label-free quantitative mass spectrometry. Early autophosphorylation sites map to regions flanking the kinase domain core, while sites within the activation loop only form at later time points. Comparison with oncogenic RET kinase revealed that late autophosphorylation sites become phosphorylated much earlier than wild-type RET, which is due to a combination of an enhanced enzymatic activity, increased ATP affinity, and surprisingly, by providing a better intermolecular substrate. Structural analysis of oncogenic M918T and wild-type RET kinase domains reveal a cis-inhibitory mechanism involving tethering contacts between the glycine-rich loop, activation loop, and αC-helix. Tether mutations only affected substrate presentation but perturbed the autophosphorylation trajectory similar to oncogenic mutations. This study reveals an unappreciated role for oncogenic RET kinase mutations in promoting intermolecular autophosphorylation by enhancing substrate presentation.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Molecular cell
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mutations leading to activation of proto-oncogenic protein kinases (PKs) are a type of drivers crucial for understanding tumorogenesis and as targets for anti-tumor drugs. However, bioinformatics tools so far developed to differentiate driver mutations, typically based on conservation considerations, systematically fail to predict activating mutations in PKs. Here we present the first comprehensive analysis of the 407 activating mutations described in the literature, which affect 41 PKs. Unexpectedly, we found that these mutations do not associate with conserved positions and do not directly affect ATP binding or catalytic residues. Instead, they cluster around three segments that have been demonstrated to act, in some PKs, as "molecular brakes" of the kinase activity. This finding led us to hypothesize that an auto inhibitory mechanism mediated by such "brakes" is present in all PKs and that the majority of activating mutations act by releasing it. Our results also demonstrate that activating mutations of PKs constitute a distinct group of drivers and that specific bioinformatics tools are needed to identify them in the numerous cancer sequencing projects currently underway. The clustering in three segments should represent the starting point of such tools, a hypothesis that we tested by identifying two somatic mutations in EPHA7 that might be functionally relevant. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Human Mutation
Show more