Selected glimpses into the activation and function of Src kinase

Oncogene. 2000 Nov 20;19(49):5620-35. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1203923.


Since the discovery of the v-src and c-src genes and their products, much progress has been made in the elucidation of the structure, regulation, localization, and function of the Src protein. Src is a non-receptor protein tyrosine kinase that transduces signals that are involved in the control of a variety of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, motility, and adhesion. Src is normally maintained in an inactive state, but can be activated transiently during cellular events such as mitosis, or constitutively by abnormal events such as mutation (i.e. v-Src and some human cancers). Activation of Src occurs as a result of disruption of the negative regulatory processes that normally suppress Src activity, and understanding the various mechanisms behind Src activation has been a target of intense study. Src associates with cellular membranes, in particular the plasma membrane, and endosomal membranes. Studies indicate that the different subcellular localizations of Src could be important for the regulation of specific cellular processes such as mitogenesis, cytoskeletal organization, and/or membrane trafficking. This review will discuss the history behind the discovery and initial characterization of Src and the regulatory mechanisms of Src activation, in particular, regulation by modification of the carboxy-terminal regulatory tyrosine by phosphatases and kinases. Its focus will then turn to the different subcellular localizations of Src and the possible roles of nuclear and perinuclear targets of Src. Finally, a brief section will review some of our present knowledge regarding Src involvement in human cancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Genes, src
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Subcellular Fractions / enzymology
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • src-Family Kinases