Transmembrane receptors with intrinsic serine/threonine or tyrosine kinase domains regulate vital functions of cells in multicellular eukaryotes, e.g., differentiation, apoptosis, and proliferation. Here, we show that bone morphogenetic protein type II receptor (BMPR-II) which has a serine/threonine kinase domain, and stem cell factor receptor (c-kit) which contains a tyrosine kinase domain form a complex in vitro and in vivo; the interaction is induced upon treatment of cells with BMP2 and SCF. Stem cell factor (SCF) modulated BMP2-dependent activation of Smad1/5/8 and phosphorylation of Erk kinase. SCF also enhanced BMP2-dependent differentiation of C2C12 cells. We found that BMPR-II was phosphorylated at Ser757 upon co-expression with and activation of c-kit. BMPR-II phosphorylation required intact kinase activity of BMPR-II. Abrogation of the c-kit/SCF-dependent phosphorylation of BMPR-II at the Ser757 interfered with the cooperative effect of BMP2 and SCF. Our data suggest that the complex formation between c-kit and BMPR-II leads to phosphorylation of BMPR-II at Ser757, which modulates BMPR-II-dependent signaling.
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