The localization of the protein tyrosine kinase pp60c-src to the plasma membrane and to the membrane of secretory vesicles in neurally derived bovine chromaffin cells has suggested that tyrosine phosphorylations may be associated with the process of secretion. In the present study we have identified two cytosolic proteins of approximately 42 and 45 kD that become phosphorylated on tyrosine in response to secretagogue treatment. Phosphorylation of these proteins reached a maximum (3 min after stimulation) before maximum catecholamine release was observed (5-10 min after stimulation). Both secretion and tyrosine phosphorylation of p42 and p45 required extracellular Ca2+. Tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins of similar Mr have previously been identified in 3T3-L1 adipocytes stimulated with insulin (MAP kinase; Ray, L. B., and T. W. Sturgill. 1987. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 84:1502-1506) and in avian and rodent fibroblasts stimulated with a variety of mitogenic agents (Cooper, J. A., D. F. Bowen-Pope, E. Raines, R. Ross, and T. Hunter. 1982. Cell. 31:263-273; Nakamura, K. D., R. Martinez, and M. J. Weber. 1983. Mol. Cell. Biol. 3:380-390). Comparisons of the secretion-associated 42-kD protein of chromaffin cells with the 42-kD protein of Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts and 3T3-L1 adipocytes provide evidence that these three proteins are highly related. This evidence includes comigration during one-dimensional SDS-PAGE, cochromatography using ion exchange and hydrophobic matrices, similar isoelectric points, identical cyanogen-bromide peptide maps, and cochromatography of MAP kinase activity with the tyrosine-phosphorylated form of pp42. This protein(s), which appears to be activated in a variety of cell types, may serve a common function, perhaps in signal transduction involving a cascade of kinases.

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