Several oncogenic protein kinases including c-raf-1 and pp60(v-src) are known to directly interact with the 90 kDa heat shock protein (hsp90)/p50 complexes. Using a monoclonal antibody to detect p50 during a purification scheme, p50 was purified to homogeneity. Internal amino acid sequence information was obtained and used to clone a partial cDNA. Comparison of the p50 sequence to other cloned proteins revealed 89% homology with a glycosaminoglycan-binding protein and 54% homology with Drosophila cell cycle control protein (cdc) 37. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies were produced against a cleaved fusion protein that recognizes p50 with a high level of specificity. These antibodies recognize the 50 kDa protein present in c-raf- 1 and pp60(v-src) complexes. No other proteins were recognized with these antibodies suggesting that p50 is a unique protein. Immunocytochemical visualization of p50 in NIH 3T3 cells indicates a primarily cytoplasmic localization around the nuclear membrane. A survey of p50 expression in murine tissues on a protein blot revealed the following relative levels of expression; thymus > spleen > brain > heart > kidney > liver > lung > skeletal muscle. These results link studies demonstrating complexation of certain kinases with hsp90/p50 in mammalian cells and a number of reports in yeast and Drosophila, demonstrating the importance of cdc37 in cell cycle and kinase function.
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