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Axl receptor tyrosine kinase stimulated by the vitamin K-dependent protein encoded by growth-arrest-specific gene 6


THE Axl receptor tyrosine kinase was identified as a protein encoded by a transforming gene from primary human myeloid leukaemia cells by DNA-mediated transformation of NIH 3T3 cells1–3. Axl is the founding member of a family of related receptors that includes Eyk4, encoded by a chicken proto-oncogene originally described as a retroviral transforming gene, and c-Mer5, encoded by a human protooncogene expressed in neoplastic B- and T-cell lines. The transforming activity of Axl demonstrates that the receptor can drive cellular proliferation. The function of Axl in non-transformed cells and tissues is unknown, but may involve the stimulation of cell proliferation in response to an appropriate signal, namely a ligand that activates the receptor. We report here the purification of an Axl stimulatory factor, and its identification as the product of growth-arrest-specific gene 6 (ref. 6). This is, to our knowledge, the first description of a ligand for the Axl family of receptors.

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Varnum, B., Young, C., Elliott, G. et al. Axl receptor tyrosine kinase stimulated by the vitamin K-dependent protein encoded by growth-arrest-specific gene 6. Nature 373, 623–626 (1995).

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