, Volume 75, Issue 4, pp 357-362

Signal Transduction—Associated and Cell Activation—Linked Antigens Expressed in Human Mast Cells

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Abstract

Mast cells (MCs) are multifunctional hematopoietic effector cells that produce and release an array of biologically active mediator substances. Growth and functions of MCs are regulated by cytokines, other extracellular factors, surface and cytoplasmic receptors, oncogene products, and a complex network of signal transduction cascades. Key regulators of differentiation of MCs appear to be stem cell factor (SCF) and its tyrosine kinase receptor KIT (c-kit proto-oncogene product=CD117), downstream-acting elements, and the mi transcription factor (MITF). Signaling through KIT is negatively regulated by the signal regulatory protein (SIRP)-α (CD172a)-SHP-1-pathway that is disrupted in neoplastic MCs in MC proliferative disorders. Both KIT and FcεRI are involved in MC activation and mediator release. Activation of MCs through FcεRI is associated with increased expression of activation-linked membrane antigens as well as with signaling events involving Lyn and Syk kinases, the phosphatidylinositol-3—kinase-pathway, Ras pathway, and the phospholipase C—protein kinase C pathway. A similar network of signaling is found in SCF-activated MCs. The current article gives an overview on signal transduction—associated and activation-linked antigens expressed in human MCs. Wherever possible the functional implication of signaling pathways and antigen expression are discussed.