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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Sep 26;97(20):10923-9.

T-cell receptor antagonists induce Vav phosphorylation by selective activation of Fyn kinase.

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  • 1La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, Division of Immunochemistry, and Division of Cell Biology, 10355 Science Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


T cell receptor (TCR) antagonists inhibit antigen-induced T cell activation and by themselves fail to induce phenotypic changes associated with T cell activation. However, we have recently shown that TCR antagonists are inducers of antigen-presenting cell (APC)-T cell conjugates. The signaling pathway associated with this cytoskeleton-dependent event appears to involve tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of Vav. In this study, we investigated the role played by the protein tyrosine kinases Fyn, Lck, and ZAP-70 in antagonist-induced signaling pathway. Antagonist stimulation increased tyrosine phosphorylation and kinase activity of Fyn severalfold, whereas little or no increase in Lck and ZAP-70 activity was observed. Second, TCR stimulation of Lck(-), Fyn(hi) Jurkat cells induced strong tyrosine phosphorylation of Vav. In contrast, minimal increase in tyrosine phosphorylation of Vav was observed in Lck(hi), Fyn(lo) Jurkat cells. Finally, study of T cells from a Fyn-deficient TCR transgenic mouse also showed that Fyn was required for tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of Vav induced by both antagonist and agonist peptides. The deficiency in Vav phosphorylation in Fyn-deficient T cells was associated with a defect in the formation of APC-T cell conjugates when T cells were stimulated with either agonist or antagonist peptide. We conclude from these results that Vav is a selective substrate for Fyn, especially under conditions of low-affinity TCR-mediated signaling, and that this signaling pathway involving Fyn, Vav, and Rac-1 is required for the cytoskeletal reorganization that leads to T cell-APC conjugates and the formation of the immunologic synapse.

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