Lck protein tyrosine kinase is a key regulator of T-cell activation and a target for signal intervention by Herpesvirus saimiri and other viral gene products. Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) are critically involved in signaling pathways that regulate cell growth, differentiation, activation, and transformation. It is not surprising, therefore, that viruses acquire effector molecules targeting these kinases to ensure their own replication and/or persistence. This review summarizes our current knowledge on Lck, a member of the Src family of PTK, and its viral interaction partners. Lck plays a key role in T lymphocyte activation and differentiation. It is associated with a variety of cell surface receptors and is critical for signal transduction from the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR). Consequently, Lck is targeted by regulatory proteins of T-lymphotropic viruses, especially by the Herpesvirus saimiri (HVS) tyrosine kinase interacting protein (Tip). This oncoprotein physically interacts with Lck in HVS transformed T cells and has an impact on its catalytic activity. However, while Tip inhibits Lck activity in stably expressing cell lines, opposite effects were observed in several in vitro systems. At least in part, this complex situation may be related to the bipartite nature of the interaction surface of the two proteins. Studies on the interrelationships between Lck and its viral partners contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms of T-cell growth regulation, in general, and of viral pathogenicity in particular. In addition, understanding the regulation of Lck activity by viral proteins may serve as a basis for the development of new drugs capable of modifying Lck activity in different pathological situations.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000