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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Nov;22(22):4406-14. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-03-0247. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Diacylglycerol kinase ζ controls diacylglycerol metabolism at the immunological synapse.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Oncology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, E-28049 Madrid, Spain.


Diacylglycerol (DAG) generation at the T cell immunological synapse (IS) determines the correct activation of antigen-specific immune responses. DAG kinases (DGKs) α and ζ act as negative regulators of DAG-mediated signals by catalyzing DAG conversion to phosphatidic acid (PA). Nonetheless, the specific input of each enzyme and their spatial regulation during IS formation remain uncharacterized. Here we report recruitment of endogenous DGKα and DGKζ to the T cell receptor (TCR) complex following TCR/CD28 engagement. Specific DGK gene silencing shows that PA production at the activated complex depends mainly on DGKζ, indicating functional differences between these proteins. DGKζ kinase activity at the TCR is enhanced by phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate cotreatment, suggesting DAG-mediated regulation of DGKζ responsiveness. We used GFP-DGKζ and -DGKα chimeras to assess translocation dynamics during IS formation. Only GFP-DGKζ translocated rapidly to the plasma membrane at early stages of IS formation, independent of enzyme activity. Finally, use of a fluorescent DAG sensor confirmed rapid, sustained DAG accumulation at the IS and allowed us to directly correlate membrane translocation of active DGKζ with DAG consumption at the IS. This study highlights a DGKζ-specific function for local DAG metabolism at the IS and offers new clues to its mode of regulation.

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