Mechanism of activation of protein kinase JAK2 by the growth hormone receptor

Andrew J. Brooks, Wei Dai, Megan L. O'Mara, Daniel Abankwa, Yash Chhabra, Rebecca A. Pelekanos, Olivier Gardon, Kathryn A. Tunny, Kristopher M. Blucher, Craig J. Morton, Michael W. Parker, Emma Sierecki, Yann Gambin, Guillermo A. Gomez, Kirill Alexandrov, Ian A. Wilson, Manolis Doxastakis, Alan E. Mark, Michael J. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Scopus citations


Signaling from JAK (Janus kinase) protein kinases to STAT (signal transducers and activators of transcription) transcription factors is key to many aspects of biology and medicine, yet the mechanism by which cytokine receptors initiate signaling is enigmatic. We present a complete mechanistic model for activation of receptor-bound JAK2, based on an archetypal cytokine receptor, the growth hormone receptor. For this, we used fluorescence resonance energy transfer to monitor positioning of the JAK2 binding motif in the receptor dimer, substitution of the receptor extracellular domains with Jun zippers to control the position of its transmembrane (TM) helices, atomistic modeling of TM helix movements, and docking of the crystal structures of the JAK2 kinase and its inhibitory pseudokinase domain with an opposing kinase-pseudokinase domain pair. Activation of the receptor dimer induced a separation of its JAK2 binding motifs, driven by a ligand-induced transition from a parallel TM helix pair to a left-handed crossover arrangement. This separation leads to removal of the pseudokinase domain from the kinase domain of the partner JAK2 and pairing of the two kinase domains, facilitating trans-activation. This model may well generalize to other class I cytokine receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1249783
Issue number6185
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanism of activation of protein kinase JAK2 by the growth hormone receptor'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this