Receptor tyrosine kinases: from biology to pathology

J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 2011 Dec;31(6):387-94. doi: 10.3109/10799893.2011.625425. Epub 2011 Oct 31.


Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are transmembrane proteins involved in the control of fundamental cellular processes in metazoans. RTKs possess a general structure that includes an extracellular domain, a transmembrane domain and a highly conserved tyrosine kinase domain. RTKs are classified according to their variable extracellular ligand-binding domain. Studies of human RTK members have yielded a wealth of information elucidating their importance. Improper functioning of these enzymes due to mutations, mainly in the kinase domain, is often manifested in various human diseases and is known to be involved in several types of cancer. Here we summarize most of human RTKs, their cognate ligands, as well as related diseases and discuss the eventual use of certain RTKs as new therapeutic targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ligands
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases