Background: Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a tyrosine kinase receptor for pleiotrophin (PTN), a growth factor involved in embryonic brain development (1-3). In ALK-expressing cells, PTN induces phosphorylation of both ALK and the downstream effectors IRS-1, Shc, PLCγ, and PI3 kinase (1). ALK was originally discovered as a nucleophosmin (NPM)-ALK fusion protein produced by a translocation (4). Investigators have found that the NPM-ALK fusion protein is a constitutively active, oncogenic tyrosine kinase associated with anaplastic lymphoma (4). Research literature suggests that activation of PLCγ by NPM-ALK may be a crucial step for its mitogenic activity and involved in the pathogenesis of anaplastic lymphomas (5).A distinct ALK oncogenic fusion protein involving ALK and echinoderm microtubule-associated protein like 4 (EML4) has been described in the research literature from a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line, with corresponding fusion transcripts present in some cases of lung adenocarcinoma. The short, amino-terminal region of the microtubule-associated protein EML4 is fused to the kinase domain of ALK (6-8).
Background: AMPA- (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid), kainate-, and NMDA- (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors are the three main families of ionotropic glutamate-gated ion channels. AMPA receptors (AMPARs) are composed of four subunits (GluA1-4), which assemble as homo- or hetero-tetramers to mediate the majority of fast excitatory transmissions in the central nervous system. AMPARs are implicated in synapse formation, stabilization, and plasticity (1). In contrast to GluA2-containing AMPARs, AMPARs that lack GluA2 are permeable to calcium (2). Post-transcriptional modifications (alternative splicing, nuclear RNA editing) and post-translational modifications (glycosylation, phosphorylation) result in a very large number of permutations, fine-tuning the kinetic properties and surface expression of AMPARs representing key pathways to mediate synaptic plasticity (3). During development and mature states, some synapses exhibit “silent synapses” that lack functional AMPAR-mediated transmission. Synapses become “unsilenced” by post-translational modification of GluAs, particularly GluA1, which alters its kinetic properties and/or surface expression while other synaptic components, such as other glutamate receptors like NMDARs and postsynaptic scaffolding proteins like PSD95, remain unaltered. Conversely, reducing the AMPAR kinetic properties and surface expression can silence synapses. Key post-translational modifications implicated in regulating these processes include phosphorylation of GluA1 at Ser831 and Ser845 (4). Research studies have implicated activity-dependent changes in AMPARs in a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke, and epilepsy (1).
Background: Tau is a heterogeneous microtubule-associated protein that promotes and stabilizes microtubule assembly, especially in axons. Six isoforms with different amino-terminal inserts and different numbers of tandem repeats near the carboxy terminus have been identified, and tau is hyperphosphorylated at approximately 25 sites by ERK, GSK-3, and CDK5 (1,2). Phosphorylation decreases the ability of tau to bind to microtubules. Neurofibrillary tangles are a major hallmark of Alzheimer's disease; these tangles are bundles of paired helical filaments composed of hyperphosphorylated tau. In particular, phosphorylation at Ser396 by GSK-3 or CDK5 destabilizes microtubules. Furthermore, research studies have shown that inclusions of tau are found in a number of other neurodegenerative diseases, collectively known as tauopathies (1,3). The cerebrospinal fluid concentration of tau phosphorylated at Thr181 has been proposed to be a biomarker for the study of neurodegenerative disorders (4).Amyloid β (Aβ) precursor protein (APP) is a 100-140 kDa transmembrane glycoprotein that exists as several isoforms (4). The amino acid sequence of APP contains the amyloid domain, which can be released by a two-step proteolytic cleavage (4). The extracellular deposition and accumulation of the released Aβ fragments form the main components of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (4). APP can be phosphorylated at several sites, which may affect the proteolytic processing and secretion of this protein (5-8). Aβ-43 has been suggested as a biomarker in early onset of Alzheimer's disease, where patients have lower levels of Aβ-43 in cerebrospinal fluid (8-10). Several studies have shown that Aβ toxicity of Aβ-43 is as high as Aβ-42 or Aβ-40 in different models of Alzheimer's disease, including mouse models and human disease (10).
Background: Members of the Janus family of tyrosine kinases (Jak1, Jak2, Jak3, and Tyk2) are activated by ligands binding to a number of associated cytokine receptors (1). Upon cytokine receptor activation, Jak proteins become autophosphorylated and phosphorylate their associated receptors to provide multiple binding sites for signaling proteins. These associated signaling proteins, such as Stats (2), Shc (3), insulin receptor substrates (4), and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) (5), typically contain SH2 or other phosphotyrosine-binding domains.Activation of Jak kinases upon cytokine receptor binding is associated with tyrosine phosphorylation within their activation loops, including Tyr1034/1035 of Jak1, Tyr1007/1008 of Jak2, Tyr980/981 of Jak3, and Tyr1054/1055 of Tyk2. Many studies have indicated that various cytokine receptors have clear preferences that utilize distinct Jak family members. Aberrant regulation of Jak signaling is associated with a number of diseases, including myeloproliferative neoplasms, leukemia, and inflammatory disease (6).
Background: Amyloid β (Aβ) precursor protein (APP) is a 100-140 kDa transmembrane glycoprotein that exists as several isoforms (1). The amino acid sequence of APP contains an amyloid domain, which can be processed and released by two-step proteolytic cleavage (1). The extracellular deposition and accumulation of the released Aβ fragments form the main components of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (1). Several fragments corresponding to progressive APP processing at alternative cleavage sites have been identified (2). These include Aβ (1-37), Aβ (1-39), Aβ (1-40), and Aβ (1-42) (2). These fragments can also be N-terminally modified to generate pyroglutamate-3 Aβ (pE3-peptide) (3). Fragment-specific and pan-Aβ antibodies are used to detect and examine relative levels of individual Aβ fragments.