Journal article

Charting the molecular network of the drug target Bcr-Abl

The tyrosine kinase Bcr-Abl causes chronic myeloid leukemia and is the cognate target of tyrosine kinase inhibitors like imatinib. We have charted the protein-protein interaction network of Bcr-Abl by a 2-pronged approach. Using a monoclonal antibody we have first purified endogenous Bcr-Abl protein complexes from the CML K562 cell line and characterized the set of most tightly-associated interactors by MS. Nine interactors were subsequently subjected to tandem affinity purifications/MS analysis to obtain a molecular interaction network of some hundred cellular proteins. The resulting network revealed a high degree of interconnection of 7 "core" components around Bcr-Abl (Grb2, Shc1, Crk-I, c-Cbl, p85, Sts-1, and SHIP-2), and their links to different signaling pathways. Quantitative proteomics analysis showed that tyrosine kinase inhibitors lead to a disruption of this network. Certain components still appear to interact with Bcr-Abl in a phosphotyrosine-independent manner. We propose that Bcr-Abl and other drug targets, rather than being considered as single polypeptides, can be considered as complex protein assemblies that remodel upon drug action.


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