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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 26;278(52):52188-94. Epub 2003 Oct 9.

Physical and functional interaction between Hck tyrosine kinase and guanine nucleotide exchange factor C3G results in apoptosis, which is independent of C3G catalytic domain.

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Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad 500 007, India.


The hematopoietic cell kinase Hck is a Src family tyrosine kinase expressed in cells of myelomonocytic lineage, B lymphocytes, and embryonic stem cells. To study its role in signaling pathways we used the Hck-SH3 domain in protein interaction cloning and identified C3G, the guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rap1 and R-Ras, as a protein that associated with Hck. This interaction was direct and was mediated partly through the proline-rich region of C3G. C3G could be co-immunoprecipitated with Hck from Cos-1 cells transfected with Hck and C3G. C3G was phosphorylated on tyrosine 504 in cells when coexpressed with Hck but not with a catalytically inactive mutant of Hck. Phosphorylation of endogenous C3G at Tyr-504 was increased by treatment of human myelomonocytic THP-1 cells with mercuric chloride, which is known to activate Hck tyrosine kinase specifically. Coexpression of Hck with C3G induced a high level of apoptosis in many cell lines by 30-42 h of transfection. Induction of apoptosis was not dependent on Tyr-504 phosphorylation or the catalytic domain of C3G but required the catalytic activity of Hck. Using dominant negative constructs of caspases we found that caspase-1, -8, and -9 are involved in this apoptotic pathway. These results suggest that C3G and Hck interact physically and functionally in vivo to activate kinase-dependent and caspase-mediated apoptosis, which is independent of catalytic domain of C3G.

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