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Signaling by SCF-KIT

Stable Identifier
Homo sapiens
Locations in the PathwayBrowser

Stem cell factor (SCF) is a growth factor with membrane bound and soluble forms. It is expressed by fibroblasts and endothelial cells throughout the body, promoting proliferation, migration, survival and differentiation of hematopoetic progenitors, melanocytes and germ cells.(Linnekin 1999, Ronnstrand 2004, Lennartsson and Ronnstrand 2006). The receptor for SCF is KIT, a tyrosine kinase receptor (RTK) closely related to the receptors for platelet derived growth factor receptor, colony stimulating factor 1 (Linnekin 1999) and Flt3 (Rosnet et al. 1991). Four isoforms of c-Kit have been identified in humans. Alternative splicing results in isoforms of KIT differing in the presence or absence of four residues (GNNK) in the extracellular region. This occurs due to the use of an alternate 5' splice donor site. These GNNK+ and GNNK- variants are co-expressed in most tissues; the GNNK- form predominates and was more strongly tyrosine-phosphorylated and more rapidly internalized (Ronnstrand 2004). There are also splice variants that arise from alternative usage of splice acceptor site resulting in the presence or absence of a serine residue (Crosier et al., 1993). Finally, there is an alternative shorter transcript of KIT expressed in postmeiotic germ cells in the testis which encodes a truncated KIT consisting only of the second part of the kinase domain and thus lackig the extracellular and transmembrane domains as well as the first part of the kinase domain (Rossi et al. 1991). Binding of SCF homodimers to KIT results in KIT homodimerization followed by activation of its intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity. KIT stimulation activates a wide array of signalling pathways including MAPK, PI3K and JAK/STAT (Reber et al. 2006, Ronnstrand 2004). Defects of KIT in humans are associated with different genetic diseases and also in several types of cancers like mast cell leukaemia, germ cell tumours, certain subtypes of malignant melanoma and gastrointestinal tumours.

Participant Of
Orthologous Events