GRB2-mediated recruitment of GAB2, but not GAB1, to SF-STK supports the expansion of Friend virus-infected erythroid progenitor cells

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Friend virus induces the development of erythroleukemia in mice through the interaction of a viral glycoprotein, gp55, with a truncated form of the Stk receptor tyrosine kinase, short form-Stk (Sf-Stk), and the EpoR. We have shown previously that the ability of Sf-Stk to participate in the transformation of Friend virus-infected cells requires the kinase activity and Grb2-binding site of Sf-Stk. Here we show that Grb2 heterozygous mice exhibit decreased susceptibility to Friend erythroleukemia and that expansion of erythroid progenitors in response to infection requires the C-terminal SH3 domain of Grb2. A fusion protein in which the Grb2-binding site in Sf-Stk is replaced by Gab2, supports the growth of progenitors from mice lacking Sf-Stk, whereas a Sf-Stk/Gab1 fusion protein does not. Gab2 is expressed in spleens from Friend virus-infected mice, co-immunoprecipitates with Sf-Stk and is tyrosine phosphorylated in the presence of Sf-Stk. Mice with a targeted deletion in Gab2 are less susceptible to Friend erythroleukemia and the expansion of erythroid progenitor cells in response to infection can be rescued by expression of Gab2, but not Gab1. Taken together, these data indicate that a Sf-Stk/Grb2/Gab2 complex mediates the growth of primary erythroid progenitor cells in response to Friend virus.

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