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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Sep;30(9):2632-8.

Defective recruitment and activation of ZAP-70 in common variable immunodeficiency patients with T cell defects.

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Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Siena, Italy.


We have previously identified a subset of common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) patients with defective T cell function associated with impaired activation of the TCR-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation cascade. Here we have assessed the structural and functional integrity of the principal components involved in coupling the TCR/CD3 complex to intracellular tyrosine kinases in two of these patients. We show that ZAP-70 fails to bind the signaling-competent CD3zeta tyrosine phosphorylation isoform and to become activated following TCR engagement, suggesting that defective recruitment of ZAP-70 might underlie the TCR signaling dysfunction in these patients. Determination of the nucleotide sequences encoding the intracellular domains of the CD3/zeta subunits and ZAP-70 did not reveal any mutation. Furthermore, ZAP-70 from these patients could interact in vitro with recombinant phospho-zeta, ruling out genetic defects at the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif/SH2 domain interface responsible for ZAP-70 recruitment to the activated TCR. No defect was found in expression, activity or subcellular localization of Lck, which is thought to be primarily responsible for CD3zeta phosphorylation. Hence, while the T cell defect in these CVID patients can be pinpointed to the interaction between ZAP-70 and CD3zeta, the integrity in the components of the signaling machinery involved in this process suggests that additional components might be required for completion of this step.

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