The tyrosine kinase Itk/Tsk is a T cell specific analog of Btk, the tyrosine kinase defective in the human immunodeficiency X-linked agammaglobulinemia and in xid mice. T lymphocytes from Itk-deficient mice are refractory to mitogenic stimuli delivered through the T cell receptor (TCR). To gain insights into the biochemical role of Itk, the binding properties of the Itk SH3 domain were examined. An optimal Itk SH3 binding motif was derived by screening biased phage display libraries; peptides based on this motif bound with high affinity and selectivity to the Itk SH3 domain. Initial studies with T cell lysates indicated that the Itk SH3 domain bound Cbl, Fyn, and other tyrosine phosphoproteins from TCR-stimulated Jurkat cells. Under conditions of increased detergent stringency Sam 68, Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein, and hnRNP-K, but not Cbl and Fyn, were bound to the Itk SH3 domain. By examining the ability of different SH3 domains to interact with deletion variants of Sam 68 and WASP, we demonstrated that the Itk-SH3 domain and the SH3 domains of Src family kinases bind to overlapping but distinct sets of proline-rich regions in Sam 68 and WASP.
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