The oncogenic fusion tyrosine kinase nucleophosmin/anaplastic lymphoma kinase (NPM/ALK) induces cellular transformation in anaplastic large-cell lymphomas (ALCLs) carrying the t(2;5) chromosomal translocation. Protein-protein interactions involving NPM/ALK are important for the activation of downstream signaling pathways. This study was aimed at identifying novel NPM/ALK-binding proteins that might contribute to its oncogenic transformation. Using a proteomic approach, several RNA/DNA-binding proteins were found to coimmunoprecipitate with NPM/ALK, including the multifunctional polypyrimidine tract binding protein-associated splicing factor (PSF). The interaction between NPM/ALK and PSF was dependent on an active ALK kinase domain and PSF was found to be tyrosine-phosphorylated in NPM/ALK-expressing cell lines and in primary ALK+ ALCL samples. Furthermore, PSF was shown to be a direct substrate of purified ALK kinase domain in vitro, and PSF Tyr293 was identified as the site of phosphorylation. Y293F PSF was not phosphorylated by NPM/ALK and was not delocalized in NPM/ALK+cells. The expression of ALK fusion proteins induced delocalization of PSF from the nucleus to the cytoplasm and forced overexpression of PSF-inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in cells expressing NPM/ALK. PSF phosphorylation also increased its binding to RNA and decreased the PSF-mediated suppression of GAGE6 expression. These results identify PSF as a novel NPM/ALK-binding protein and substrate, and suggest that PSF function may be perturbed in NPM/ALK-transformed cells.
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