Author(s): Wypych J, Bennett LG, Schwartz MG, Clogston CL, Lu HS,
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Abstract c-kit encodes the transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase (Kit) for the recently described ligand stem cell factor (SCF). We have developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for measuring soluble human Kit and we have used the assay to show high levels of soluble Kit in human serum. The distribution of soluble Kit levels was investigated among 112 normal human serum donors. The mean serum level (+/- SD) was found to be 324 +/- 105 ng/mL with the values falling between 163 ng/mL and 788 ng/mL. No correlation between soluble Kit levels and the sexes or ages of the donors was found. Partial purification using immunoaffinity chromatography allowed us to characterize the soluble Kit from pooled human serum. Antibodies generated to a 497-amino acid recombinant human soluble Kit corresponding to the N-terminal extracellular domain of the receptor recognized the serum-derived soluble Kit by immunoblotting. We found that the serum-derived soluble Kit is glycosylated, with mostly N-linked but also O-linked carbohydrate, and with terminal sialic acid residues. When compared with the recombinant human soluble Kit, the serum-derived material was similar both in size and glycosylation pattern. CNBr cleavage of the isolated serum-derived material followed by amino terminal sequencing confirmed the presence of five peptides expected for the extracellular portion of the Kit molecule. The immunoaffinity purified serum-derived soluble Kit inhibited binding of [125I]SCF to membrane-bound receptor in an in vitro assay. These results indicate that soluble Kit could modulate the activity and functions of SCF in vivo.
This article was published in Blood
and referenced in Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis