Functions of the Lyn tyrosine kinase in health and disease
Cell Signalling Group, Laboratory for Cancer Medicine, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Centre for Medical Research, The University of Western Australia, Rear 50 Murray Street, Perth, WA, 6000, Australia
Cell Communication and Signaling 2012, 10:21 doi:10.1186/1478-811X-10-21Published: 17 July 2012
Src family kinases such as Lyn are important signaling intermediaries, relaying and modulating different inputs to regulate various outputs, such as proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, migration and metabolism. Intriguingly, Lyn can mediate both positive and negative signaling processes within the same or different cellular contexts. This duality is exemplified by the B-cell defect in Lyn−/− mice in which Lyn is essential for negative regulation of the B-cell receptor; conversely, B-cells expressing a dominant active mutant of Lyn (Lynup/up) have elevated activities of positive regulators of the B-cell receptor due to this hyperactive kinase. Lyn has well-established functions in most haematopoietic cells, viz. progenitors via influencing c-kit signaling, through to mature cell receptor/integrin signaling, e.g. erythrocytes, platelets, mast cells and macrophages. Consequently, there is an important role for this kinase in regulating hematopoietic abnormalities. Lyn is an important regulator of autoimmune diseases such as asthma and psoriasis, due to its profound ability to influence immune cell signaling. Lyn has also been found to be important for maintaining the leukemic phenotype of many different liquid cancers including acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and B-cell lymphocytic leukaemia (BCLL). Lyn is also expressed in some solid tumors and here too it is establishing itself as a potential therapeutic target for prostate, glioblastoma, colon and more aggressive subtypes of breast cancer.
To relay information, a cell uses enzymes that put molecular markers on specific proteins so they interact with other proteins or move to specific parts of the cell to have particular functions. A protein called Lyn is one of these enzymes that regulate information transfer within cells to modulate cell growth, survival and movement. Depending on which type of cell and the source of the information input, Lyn can positively or negatively regulate the information output. This ability of Lyn to be able to both turn on and turn off the relay of information inside cells makes it difficult to fully understand its precise function in each specific circumstance. Lyn has important functions for cells involved in blood development, including different while blood cells as well as red blood cells, and in particular for the immune cells that produce antibodies (B-cells), as exemplified by the major B-cell abnormalities that mice with mutations in the Lyn gene display. Certain types of leukaemia and lymphoma appear to have too much Lyn activity that in part causes the characteristics of these diseases, suggesting it may be a good target to develop new anti-leukaemia drugs. Furthermore, some specific types, and even specific subtypes, of solid cancers, e.g. prostate, brain and breast cancer can also have abnormal regulation of Lyn. Consequently, targeting this protein in these cancers could also prove to be beneficial.