Breast tumor kinase/protein tyrosine kinase 6 (Brk/PTK6) activity in normal and neoplastic biliary epithelia

Yoshiaki Mizuguchi, Susan Specht, Kumiko Isse, Eizaburo Sasatomi, John G. Lunz, Toshihiro Takizawa, Anthony J. Demetris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Breast tumor kinase (BRK) augments proliferation and promotes cell survival in breast cancers via interactions with SH2 and SH3 ligand-containing proteins, such as receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK; e.g. EGFR, ErbB2/neu). Since RTK contribute to cholangiocarcinoma (CC) evolution we probed BRK protein expression and function in normal and CC livers. Methods: Immunohistochemical staining of normal livers and CC (n = 93) in a tissue microarray and three CC and an immortalized human cholangiocyte cell lines (real-time PCR, Western blotting, siRNA) were used to study the functional relationships between BRK, EGFR, ErbB2, SAM68, and SPRR2a. Results: BRK protein was expressed in normal human intrahepatic bile ducts; all CC cell lines and a majority of CC showed strong BRK protein expression. Multiplex immunostaining/ tissue cytometry and immunoprecipitation studies showed: 1) BRK co-localized with EGFR and ErbB2/neu; 2) BRKhigh/EGFRhigh-co-expressing CC cells had significantly higher Ki67 labeling and; 3) stronger BRK protein expression was seen in perihilar and distal CC than intrahepatic CC and directly correlated with CC differentiation. In cell lines, BRK expression augmented proliferation in response to exogenous EGF, whereas BRK siRNA significantly reduced growth. The SH3 ligand-containing, SPRR2A activated pTyr342 BRK, which in turn, phosphorylated SAM68, causing nuclear localization and increased cell proliferation similar to observations in breast cancers. Conclusion: BRK expression in a majority of CC can interact with RTK, augmenting growth and interfering with proliferation inhibitors (SAM68). Therapeutically targeting BRK function (in addition to RTK) should be of benefit for CC treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-407
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • BRK
  • Cholangiocarcinoma (CC)
  • EGFR
  • ErbB2
  • RNA interference
  • SAM68
  • Tyrosine kinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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