Soluble extracts prepared from bovine thymus contain an angiotensin-I-phosphorylating activity that is activated several-fold by high concentrations of NaCl. Fractionation of this protein-tyrosine kinase activity by chromatography on DEAE-cellulose yields a major diffuse peak of activity. The enzymes responsible for this activity are found at much higher levels in extracts from bovine thymus than from bovine spleen. The peak of activity from the DEAE-cellulose column can be further separated into two major peaks by chromatography on heparin-agarose. The second peak to elute from the heparin-agarose column was previously purified through several chromatographic steps to yield a 40 kDa protein-tyrosine kinase (p40). We have now partially purified the early-eluting peak of kinase activity by chromatography on columns of butyl-agarose, protamine-agarose and Sephacryl S200. The enzyme was identified following covalent modification with 5′-fluorosulphonylbenzoyladenosine (FSBA) by reactivity with anti-FSBA antibodies. This procedure labelled a series of 52-56 kDa proteins. These proteins were also recognized by polyclonal anti-peptide antibodies raised against the C-terminal 33 amino acids of p56lck, a major T lymphocyte protein-tyrosine kinase. Peptide maps of the partially purified enzyme were identical to maps generated from p56lck obtained from LSTRA cells. These data suggest that bovine thymus p56lck is responsible for the activity found in the early-eluting peak from heparin-agarose. Antibodies raised against a peptide corresponding to amino acids 39-64 of p56lck, a sequence found near the N-terminus, recognized the slower-migrating, but not the faster-migrating, form of the enzyme, indicating that a fraction of the protein had been proteolysed near the N-terminus during purification. The partially purified bovine enzyme exhibited a restricted substrate specificity in vitro and did not readily phosphorylate human erythrocyte band 3, casein or histone, but was able to phosphorylate acid-treated enolase. The dilute enzyme present in fractions eluting from chromatography columns was unable to catalyse an autophosphorylation reaction. Autophosphorylation could be detected in more concentrated enzyme samples and was readily observed in immune-complex assays. The phosphorylation of angiotensin I by bovine thymus p56lck was weakly activated by polyionic compounds such as heparin and polylysine, and was strongly activated by high concentrations of NaCl.

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