Research ArticleImmunology

The kinase Itk and the adaptor TSAd change the specificity of the kinase Lck in T cells by promoting the phosphorylation of Tyr192

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Sci. Signal.  09 Dec 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 355, pp. ra118
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005384

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Abstract

The substrate specificity of Src family kinases (SFKs) is partly determined by their Src homology 2 (SH2) domains. Thus, transient alterations in the SH2 domain of SFKs might change their binding partners and affect intracellular signaling pathways. Lck is an SFK that is central to the initiation of T cell activation in response to ligand binding to the T cell receptor (TCR) and is also critical for later signaling processes. The kinase activity of Lck requires both the phosphorylation of an activating tyrosine residue and the dephosphorylation of an inhibitory tyrosine residue. We found that a third conserved tyrosine phosphorylation site (Tyr192) within the SH2 domain of Lck was required for proper T cell activation and formation of cell-cell conjugates between T cells and antigen-presenting cells. Through phosphopeptide arrays and biochemical assays, we identified several regulators of the actin cytoskeleton that preferentially bound to Lck phosphorylated at Tyr192 compared to Lck that was not phosphorylated at this site. Two of these phosphorylation-dependent binding partners, the kinase Itk (interleukin-2–inducible Tec kinase) and the adaptor protein TSAd (T cell–specific adaptor), promoted the TCR-dependent phosphorylation of Lck at Tyr192. Our data suggest that phosphorylation transiently alters SH2 domain specificity and provide a potential mechanism whereby SFKs may be rewired from one signaling program to another to enable appropriate cell activation.

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