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EMBO J. 1993 Dec 15; 12(13): 5105–5112.
PMCID: PMC413772

The (YXXL/I)2 signalling motif found in the cytoplasmic segments of the bovine leukaemia virus envelope protein and Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 2A can elicit early and late lymphocyte activation events.


The cytoplasmic domains of the transducing subunits associated with B and T cell antigen receptors contain a common amino acid motif consisting of two precisely spaced Tyr-X-X-Leu/Ile sequences (where X corresponds to a variable residue). Expression of a single copy of this motif suffices to initiate B or T cell activation. The bovine leukaemia virus (BLV) is a B cell lymphotropic retrovirus which causes a non-neoplasic proliferation of B cells. The cytoplasmic domain of the BLV transmembrane envelope glycoprotein, gp30, possesses two overlapping copies of the Tyr-X-X-Leu/Ile-containing motif which could participate in the induction of B cell activation. Similarly, the N-terminal cytoplasmic domain of the latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) contains a single copy of the Tyr-X-X-Leu/Ile-containing motif which could play a critical role in B cell transformation. To determine whether these two virus-encoded cytoplasmic domains are endowed with signalling functions, we constructed chimeric proteins by replacing the cytoplasmic tail of CD8-alpha with that of either BLV gp30 or EBV LMP2A. We show here that, once separately expressed in B or T cell lines, these chimeras are capable of triggering both calcium responses and cytokine production when cross-linked with an antibody to CD8-alpha. Furthermore, using site-directed mutagenesis, we demonstrated unequivocally that this signalling function may be accounted for by the Tyr-X-X-Leu/Ile motifs they contain.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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