Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) activation involves ligand-induced receptor dimerization and transphosphorylation on tyrosine residues. Colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1)-induced CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) tyrosine phosphorylation and ubiquitination were studied in mouse macrophages. Phosphorylation of CSF-1R Tyr-559, required for the binding of Src family kinases (SFKs), was both necessary and sufficient for these responses and for c-Cbl tyrosine phosphorylation and all three responses were inhibited by SFK inhibitors. In c-Cbl-deficient macrophages, CSF-1R ubiquitination and tyrosine phosphorylation were substantially inhibited. Reconstitution with wild-type, but not ubiquitin ligase-defective C381A c-Cbl rescued these responses, while expression of C381A c-Cbl in wild-type macrophages suppressed them. Analysis of site-directed mutations in the CSF-1R further suggests that activated c-Cbl-mediated CSF-1R ubiquitination is required for a conformational change in the major kinase domain that allows amplification of receptor tyrosine phosphorylation and full receptor activation. Thus the results indicate that CSF-1-mediated receptor dimerization leads to a Tyr-559/SFK/c-Cbl pathway resulting in receptor ubiquitination that permits full receptor tyrosine phosphorylation of this class III RTK in macrophages.
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