The Bcr-Abl oncoprotein is the primary causative factor in Philadelphia chromosome-associated leukemias. The activated tyrosine kinase of the Bcr-Abl oncoprotein is the primary driving force behind its oncogenic activity. We report here that a deleted form of Bcr [Bcr(64–413)], encompassing the Abl SH2 binding domains of Bcr, reduced the phosphotyrosine content of c-Abl and Bcr-Abl within cells and inhibited Bcr-Abl autophosphorylation activity in vitro. Similarly, a Bcr peptide phosphorylated on Ser-354 blocked the c-Abl and Bcr-Abl kinases in vitro, whereas the same peptide phosphorylated on Tyr-360 was not inhibitory. Bcr(64–413) was also resistant to tyrosine phosphorylation by either activated c-Abl or Bcr-Abl. Importantly, Bcr(64–413) interfered with the growth of Bcr-Abl-expressing cell lines. Our findings indicate that the Abl SH2 binding domain of Bcr in the phosphoserine from inhibits the Bcr-Abl oncoprotein but that tyrosine phosphorylation of this domain of Bcr reverses its inhibitory effects on Bcr-Abl. These results raise interesting questions about a possible role of Bcr or a Bcr-related molecule in modulating the activity of the Bcr-Abl oncoprotein and c-Abl itself.

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This work was supported by grants from the NIH (CA65611 and CA16672). R. B. A. holds the Stringer chair of Cancer Research.

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