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Mol Interv. 2003 Mar;3(2):75-8, 50.

The missing link(er): a return to symmetry in antigen receptor signaling?

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Laboratory of Biological Chemistry, Gerontology Research Center, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, MSC-12, 5600 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes utilize several proteins with common functions to transduce signals from their respective receptors. However, at the hierarchial signalling level of SLP-76 [Src homology 2(SH2) domain-containing leukocyte protein of 76-kDa] and LAT (linker for activation of T cells) in T cells, the only corresponding protein in B cells was known to be BLNK (B cell linker protein). It was thought that perhaps BLNK performed the cognate roles of SLP-76 and LAT in B cells; however, mounting evidence to the contrary revealed that this hypothesis was not robust. Two laboratories have recently described the characterization of a protein expressed in B cells and myeloid cells, alternatively termed NTAL (non-T cell activation linker) or LAB (linker for activation of B cells). NTAL/LAB and LAT may have arisen from a primordial gene-duplicating event, but genes that code for the two proteins do not share a very high degree of sequence identity. Wange discusses the results of the two reports, the evidence for functional homology between LAT and NTAL/LAB, and the possibility that the differences between them might lead to specific clinical therapeutics to manipulate immune cell responses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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