IL-2-lnduced Expression of TTK, a Serine, Threonine, Tyrosine Kinase, Correlates with Cell Cycle Progression

Rosemarie Schmandt, Mary Hill, Antonella Amendola, Gordon B. Mills, David Hogg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We have recently isolated the cDNA for a unique human 97-kDa kinase, TTK, by expression screening of a cDNA expression library using anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies. When expressed in Escherichia coli, TTK can phosphorylate serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues. Thus TTK appears to belong to a newly described family of kinases able to phosphorylate all three hydroxy amino acids. This family of multispecific kinases includes several other kinases involved in cell cycle progression. In support of a possible role in regulating cell cycle progression, TTK message is readily detected in rapidly proliferating tissues in vivo including testes, thymus, bone marrow, and many malignant tumors, but not in benign tissues with a low proliferative rate in vivo. To determine the effect of cell activation and cell cycle progression on TTK expression, we measured TTK mRNA and protein levels as well as kinase activity in freshly isolated T cells or IL-2-expanded T cell blasts activated to proliferate by the addition of a variety of mitogens. TTK mRNA levels, protein levels, and kinase activity were greatly enhanced when either freshly isolated PBL or T cell blasts were activated by cross-linking the TCR complex by mitogenic lectins or by by passing the TCR with phorbol esters and cation ionophores. Incubation with IL-2 increased TTK expression in PBL blasts, which proliferate in response to IL-2, but not in fresh PBL, which do not proliferate in response to IL-2. TTK expression was blocked by either cyclosporin A or FK520, which inhibit IL-2 production and could be recovered by the addition of exogenous IL-2. Furthermore, TTK expression was prevented by incubation of the cells with rapamycin, which blocks IL-2 signaling. Thus, TTK expression in T cells appears to be a consequence of IL2-induced cell proliferation. Agonist-induced TTK expression was a delayed event occurring 12 to 24 h after activation of PBL blasts and 48 to 72 h after activation of fresh PBL. TTK protein and mRNA expression increased in both fresh PBL and T cell blasts concurrently with passage of cells through S phase as indicated by [3H]TdR incorporation and cell cycle analysis of propidium iodide-stained cells. TTK mRNA and protein levels reached a maximum as cells entered the G2 phase of the cell cycle. These results were confirmed by cell cycle blockade studies with aphidicolin and nocodazole wherein TTK protein levels are not detected in cells in G1 and are readily detectable in cells in the S and C2 phases of the cell cycle. Furthermore, changes in TTK mRNA levels in activated cells paralleled those of cyclin A, which is expressed in late S phase and in C2 and were markedly different from those of cyclin D2, which is expressed in G1. Taken together, the data suggest that TTK may play a role in IL-2-induced passage of T cells through the S and G2M phases of the cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-105
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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