Background: Cluster of Differentiation 3 (CD3) is a multiunit protein complex expressed on the surface of T-cells that directly associates with the T-cell receptor (TCR). CD3 is composed of four polypeptides: ζ, γ, ε and δ. Engagement of TCR complex with antigens presented in Major Histocompatibility Complexes (MHC) induces tyrosine phosphorylation in the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM) of CD3 proteins. CD3 phosphorylation is required for downstream signaling through ZAP-70 and p85 subunit of PI-3 kinase, leading to T cell activation, proliferation, and effector functions (1). Cluster of Differentiation 8 (CD8) is a transmembrane glycoprotein expressed primarily on cytotoxic T cells, but has also been described on a subset of dendritic cells in mice (2,3). On T cells, CD8 is a co-receptor for the TCR, and these two distinct structures are required to recognize antigen bound to MHC Class I (2). Cluster of Differentiation 4 (CD4) is expressed on the surface of T helper cells, regulatory T cells, monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells, and plays an important role in the development and activation of T cells. On T cells, CD4 is the co-receptor for the TCR, and these two distinct structures recognize antigen bound to MHC Class II. CD8 and CD4 co-receptors ensure specificity of the TCR–antigen interaction, prolong the contact between the T cell and the antigen presenting cell, and recruit the tyrosine kinase Lck, which is essential for T cell activation (2). Granzyme B is a serine protease expressed by CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells and is a key component of the immune response to pathogens and transformed cancer cells (4). Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3) is crucial for the development of T cells with immunosuppressive regulatory properties and is a well-established marker for T regulatory cells (Tregs) (5). CD19 is a co-receptor expressed on B cells that amplifies the signaling cascade initiated by the B cell receptor (BCR) to induce activation. It is a biomarker of B lymphocyte development, lymphoma diagnosis, and can be utilized as a target for leukemia immunotherapies (6,7). F4/80 (EMR1) is a heavily glycosylated G-protein-coupled receptor and is a well-established marker for mouse macrophages (8). CD11c (integrin αX, ITGAX) is a transmembrane glycoprotein highly expressed by dendritic cells, and has also been observed on activated NK cells, subsets of B and T cells, monocytes, granulocytes, and some B cell malignancies including hairy cell leukemia (9,10).
Background: A-Raf, B-Raf, and c-Raf (Raf-1) are the main effectors recruited by GTP-bound Ras to activate the MEK-MAP kinase pathway (1). Activation of c-Raf is the best understood and involves phosphorylation at multiple activating sites including Ser338, Tyr341, Thr491, Ser494, Ser497, and Ser499 (2). p21-activated protein kinase (PAK) has been shown to phosphorylate c-Raf at Ser338, and the Src family phosphorylates Tyr341 to induce c-Raf activity (3,4). Ser338 of c-Raf corresponds to similar sites in A-Raf (Ser299) and B-Raf (Ser445), although this site is constitutively phosphorylated in B-Raf (5). Inhibitory 14-3-3 binding sites on c-Raf (Ser259 and Ser621) can be phosphorylated by Akt and AMPK, respectively (6,7). While A-Raf, B-Raf, and c-Raf are similar in sequence and function, differential regulation has been observed (8). Of particular interest, B-Raf contains three consensus Akt phosphorylation sites (Ser364, Ser428, and Thr439) and lacks a site equivalent to Tyr341 of c-Raf (8,9). Research studies have shown that the B-Raf mutation V600E results in elevated kinase activity and is commonly found in malignant melanoma (10). Six residues of c-Raf (Ser29, Ser43, Ser289, Ser296, Ser301, and Ser642) become hyperphosphorylated in a manner consistent with c-Raf inactivation. The hyperphosphorylation of these six sites is dependent on downstream MEK signaling and renders c-Raf unresponsive to subsequent activation events (11).