C-Kit is a type 3 transmembrane receptor for MGF (mast cell growth factor, also known as stem cell factor). c-Kit contains 5 Ig-like C2-type (immunoglobulin-like) domains and 1 protein kinase domain. It belongs to the protein kinase superfamily, Tyr protein kinase family, and CSF-1/PDGF receptor subfamily. C-Kit contains 5 Ig-like C2-type (immunoglobulin-like) domains and 1 protein kinase domain. C-Kit has tyrosine-protein kinase activity.
The binding of the ligands leads to the autophosphorylation of KIT and its association with substrates such as phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Antibodies to c-Kit are widely used in immunohistochemistry to help distinguish particular types of tumors in histological tissue sections. It is used primarily in the diagnosis of GISTs. In GISTs, c-Kit staining is typically cytoplasmic, with stronger accentuation along the cell membranes.
C-Kit antibodies can also be used in the diagnosis of mast cell tumors and in distinguishing seminomas from embryonal carcinomas. Mutations in the c-Kit gene are associated with gastrointestinal stromal tumors, mast cell disease, acute myelogenous leukemia, and piebaldism. Defects in KIT are a cause of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). AML is a malignant disease in which hematopoietic precursors are arrested in an early stage of development. Note=Somatic mutations that lead to constitutive activation of KIT are detected in AML patients.
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