The FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT-3) shares structural homology with other members of the class III receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family, such as KIT and FMS, with all members playing important roles in the survival, proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells. FLT-3 is expressed in primitive CD34+ hematopoietic cells, dendritic cells, B-cell progenitors and natural killer cells. It has a limited range of tissue expression compared with FL, suggesting that FLT-3 is the major determinant of specificity. Wild-type FLT-3 appears to transduce its signaling cascade principally via the phosphotidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) and Ras pathways, leading to activation of AKT (protein kinase B), signal transducer and activator of transcription-5 (STAT5), and extracellular-signal regulated kinase-1 and -2 (ERK1/2). A number of compounds that target mutant and wild-type FLT-3 have recently been developed and are now in clinical trials.


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