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J Biol Chem. 2003 Feb 7;278(6):3852-9. Epub 2002 Nov 27.

Dual functional roles for the X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome gene product SAP/SH2D1A in signaling through the signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) family of immune receptors.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


The X-linked lymphoproliferative (XLP) syndrome gene encodes a protein named SAP or SH2D1A that is composed of a single Src homology 2 (SH2) domain. Two models have been proposed for its function in lymphocyte signaling. One postulates that it acts as an inhibitor of interactions between the phosphatase SHP-2 and the immune receptor SLAM. The other suggests that it functions as an adaptor to promote the recruitment of a kinase, FynT, to SLAM. Here, we provide evidence in support of both roles for SAP. Using an array of peptides derived from the SLAM family of receptors, we demonstrate that SAP binds with comparable affinities to the same sites in these receptors as do the SH2 domains of SHP-2 and SHIP, suggesting that these three proteins may compete against one another in binding to a given SLAM family receptor. Furthermore, in vitro and in vivo binding studies indicate that SAP is capable of binding directly to FynT, an interaction mediated by the FynT SH3 domain. In cells, FynT was shown to be indispensable for SLAM tyrosine phosphorylation, which, in turn, was drastically enhanced by SAP. Because SAP also blocked the recruitment of SHP-2 to SLAM in these cells, we propose a dual functional role for SAP in SLAM signaling by acting both as an adaptor for FynT and an inhibitor to SHP-2 binding. The physiological relevance of the dual functional role for SAP is underscored by the observation that disease-causing SAP mutants exhibited significantly reduced affinities to both FynT and SLAM.

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