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: 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).