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J Immunol. 1998 Nov 1;161(9):4688-94.

Differential requirements for ZAP-70 in TCR signaling and T cell development.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0795, USA.


The Syk/ZAP-70 family of protein tyrosine kinases is indispensable for normal lymphoid development. Syk is necessary for the development of B cells and epithelial gammadelta T cells, whereas ZAP-70 is essential for the normal development of T cells and TCR signaling. In this study, we show that although development of the alphabeta lineage was arrested in the thymus, CD3-positive T cells, primarily of the gammadelta lineage, were present in the lymph nodes of mice lacking ZAP-70. Moreover, in the absence of ZAP-70, dendritic epidermal T cells were fewer in number and of abnormal morphology, and intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes, normally containing a large proportion of gammadelta T cells, were markedly reduced. These data suggest that gammadelta T cells show a variable dependence upon ZAP-70 for their development. Biochemical analyses of thymocytes revealed a lack of basal zeta-chain tyrosine phosphorylation. However, several other substrates were inducibly tyrosine phosphorylated following TCR stimulation. Thus, TCR-mediated signaling in ZAP-70-deficient thymocytes is only partially impaired. These studies suggest that Syk compensates only partially for the loss of ZAP-70, and that there is an absolute requirement of ZAP-70 for alphabeta T cells and epithelial gammadelta T cells, but not for some gammadelta T cells in peripheral lymphoid tissues.

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