BCR/ABL fusion tyrosine kinase is responsible for the initiation and maintenance of the Philadelphia chromosome (Ph1)-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and a cohort of acute lymphocytic leukemias (ALL). Our previous studies showed that a signaling protein phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3k) is essential for the growth of CML cells, but not of normal hematopoietic cells, and that p85 subunit of PI-3k co-immunoprecipitates with BCR/ABL (Skorski et al., (1995) Blood 86, 726–36; Skorski et al., (1997) Embo J 16, 6151–61; Klejman et al., (2002) Oncogene 21, 5868–76). Therefore, we made an attempt to better characterize the p85 - BCR/ABL interactions. Here we show that SH3 domain of p85 (p85-SH3) pulls-down the p210BCR/ABL kinase from hematopoietic cell lysates. In addition, we characterize the p85-SH3 mutants, which abrogate or enhance this interaction. The results of pull-down assays of the p85-SH3 mutants seem to support the assumption that p85-SH3 interacts with the BCR/ABL protein network via the proline-rich (PxxP) region. One of the surprising findings was the enhanced binding affinity of the tyrosine to phenylalanine p85-SH3 domain mutants in comparison to the wild-type p85-SH3. Based on these results we speculate on the capability of p85-SH3 to interact with BCR/ABL and on the p85-SH3 conformational requirements necessary for this reaction. PxxP - binding appears to be required for the interaction of p85-SH3 with BCR/ABL protein complex and activation of the catalytic activity of PI-3k, whereas subsequent BCR/ABL-dependent phosphorylation of the tyrosines may facilitate the release of activated PI-3k from the complex.

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