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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 8;106(49):20699-704. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911512106. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Stability of an autoinhibitory interface in the structure of the tyrosine kinase ZAP-70 impacts T cell receptor response.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, California Institute of Quantitative Biosciences, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


The delivery of signals from the activated T cell antigen receptor (TCR) inside the cell relies on the protein tyrosine kinase ZAP-70 (zeta-associated protein of 70 kDa). A recent crystal structure of inactive full-length ZAP-70 suggests that a central interface formed by the docking of the two SH2 domains of ZAP-70 onto the kinase domain is crucial for suppressing catalytic activity. Here we validate the significance of this autoinhibitory interface for the regulation of ZAP-70 catalytic activity and the T cell response. For this purpose, we perform in vitro catalytic activity assays and binding experiments using ZAP-70 proteins purified from insect cells to examine activation of ZAP-70. Furthermore, we use cell lines stably expressing wild-type or mutant ZAP-70 to monitor proximal events in T cell signaling, including TCR-induced phosphorylation of ZAP-70 substrates, activation of the MAP kinase pathway, and intracellular Ca(2+) levels. Taken together, our results directly correlate the stability of the autoinhibitory interface with the activation of these key events in the T cell response.

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