The Tec family of tyrosine kinases consists of five members (Itk, Rlk, Tec, Btk, and Bmx) that are expressed predominantly in hematopoietic cells. The exceptions, Tec and Bmx, are also found in endothelial cells. Tec kinases constitute the second largest family of cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinases. While B cells express Btk and Tec, and T cells express Itk, Rlk, and Tec, all four of these kinases (Btk, Itk, Rlk, and Tec) can be detected in mast cells. This chapter will focus on the biochemical and cell biological data that have been accumulated regarding Itk, Rlk, Btk, and Tec. In particular, distinctions between the different Tec kinase family members will be highlighted, with a goal of providing insight into the unique functions of each kinase. The known functions of Tec kinases in T cell and mast cell signaling will then be described, with a particular focus on T cell receptor and mast cell FcεRI signaling pathways.
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This work was supported by grants from the NIH (AI37584 and AI66118) and the Center for Disease Control (CI000101).