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Nature. 1989 Mar 16;338(6212):257-9.

Signal transduction through the CD4 receptor involves the activation of the internal membrane tyrosine-protein kinase p56lck.

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Laboratory of Tumor Virus Biology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


The CD4 T-cell surface antigen is an integral membrane glycoprotein of relative molecular mass 55,000 which binds class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules expressed on antigen presenting cells (APCs). It is thought to stabilize physical interactions between T cells and APCs (for a review, see ref. 1). Evidence is accumulating that suggests that CD4 can transduce an independent signal during T-cell activation. It has recently been shown that CD4 expressed on human and murine T cells is physically associated with the Src-related tyrosine protein kinase p56lck (refs 7, 8). These results indicate that CD4 can function as a signal transducer and suggest that tyrosine phosphorylation events may be important in CD4-mediated signalling. Here, we present evidence that cross-linking of the CD4 receptor induces a rapid increase in the tyrosine-specific protein kinase activity of p56lck and is associated with the rapid phosphorylation of one of the subunits (zeta) of the T-cell receptor complex on tyrosine residues. These data provide direct evidence for a specific CD4 signal transduction pathway that is mediated through p56lck and suggest that some of the tyrosine phosphorylation events detected during antigen-mediated T-cell activation may result from signalling through this surface molecule.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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