- Dimerization of receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatase alpha in living cells
- BMC Cell Biology
- Volume | Issue number
- 2 | 8
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Background: Dimerization is an important regulatory mechanism of single membrane-spanning receptors. For instance, activation of receptor protein-tyrosine kinases (RPTKs) involves dimerization. Structural, functional and biochemical studies suggested that the enzymatic counterparts of RPTKs, the receptor protein-tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs), are inhibited by dimerization, but whether RPTPs actually dimerize in living cells remained to be determined. Results: In order to assess RPTP dimerization, we have assayed Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) between chimeric proteins of cyan- and yellow-emitting derivatives of green fluorescent protein, fused to RPTPá, using three different techniques: dual wavelength excitation, spectral imaging and fluorescence lifetime imaging. All three techniques suggested that FRET occurred between RPTPá -CFP and -YFP fusion proteins, and thus that RPTPá dimerized in living cells. RPTPá dimerization was constitutive, extensive and specific. RPTPá dimerization was consistent with cross-linking experiments, using a non-cell-permeable chemical cross-linker. Using a panel of deletion mutants, we found that the transmembrane domain was required and sufficient for dimerization. Conclusions: We demonstrate here that RPTPá dimerized constitutively in living cells, which may be mediated by the transmembrane domain, providing strong support for the model that dimerization is involved in regulation of RPTPs.
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