Why this process called "auto"? Is it because each tyrosine kinase receptor subunit of the RTK dimer has the ability to phosphorylate tyrosine or other amino acid residue present in other subunit of the RTK dimer's cytoplasmic tail? Is it because no new set of kinase enzyme is needed to phosphorylate them?


1 Answer 1


Receptor tyrosine kinases are proteins which float around in the cellular membrane. Upon binding of their ligand, the dimerize (two units form a dimer). This releases the kinase domains and the proteins start phosphorylating themselves over cross (meaning part a phosphylates part b and vice versa). This looks like in this figure below (from here, it is an interesting article):

enter image description here

Besides ATP this process needs no further co-factors so the "auto" refers to the ability of the RTK to phosphorylate itself upon activation. See more about autophosphorylation here.

  • $\begingroup$ OP may not see your comment if you don't @mention him... :/ $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    May 26, 2014 at 3:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @N00B Instead of thanking me here in a comment you could upvote answers to your questions and accept to show it answers your question. This is a nice gesture towards the people who answer questions (also probably in older questions). $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 26, 2014 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris I did that already $\endgroup$
    – N00B
    May 29, 2014 at 19:50

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