Recent data have renewed interest in the possible nuclear localization of receptor tyrosine kinases, as well as their ligands. In one case, that of ErbB-4, the receptor is processed by two membrane-localized proteases to produce a soluble cytoplasmic domain fragment that includes the tyrosine kinase domain. This fragment, generated by a metalloprotease-dependent ectodomain cleavage followed by gamma-secretase cleavage within the transmembrane domain, is also found in the nucleus. Three other receptor tyrosine kinases have been detected in the nucleus in the absence of proteolytic processing. In some instances, nuclear localization of receptor tyrosine kinases is growth-factor-dependent and tentative evidence suggests a role in transcription.
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