The granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor is a heterodimer composed of at least two different subunits; an α chain, and a β chain which is also present in the receptors for IL-3 and IL-5. The α subunit contains a binding site for granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor. The β chain is involved in signal transduction. Association of the α and β subunits results in receptor activation.
Upon dimerisation of the α and β subunits the β subunit becomes phosphorylated on tyrosine residues by members of the Janus kinase (JAK) family. This leads to association with a Shc adaptor protein. Then Shc interacts with GRB2/SoS complex which results in activation of more downstream molecules in the pathway.
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