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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 16;110(29):11976-81. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1306180110. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Diacylglycerol promotes centrosome polarization in T cells via reciprocal localization of dynein and myosin II.

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Immunology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Centrosome reorientation to the immunological synapse maintains the specificity of T-cell effector function by facilitating the directional release of cytokines and cytolytic factors toward the antigen-presenting cell. This polarization response is driven by the localized accumulation of diacylglycerol, which recruits multiple protein kinase (PK)C isozymes to the synaptic membrane. Here, we used T-cell receptor (TCR) photoactivation and imaging methodology to demonstrate that PKCs control centrosome dynamics through the reciprocal localization of two motor complexes, dynein and nonmuscle myosin (NM)II. Dynein accumulated in the region of TCR stimulation, whereas NMII clustered in the back of the cell, behind the polarizing centrosome. PKC activity, which shaped both dynein and NMII accumulation within this framework, controlled NMII localization directly by phosphorylating inhibitory sites within the myosin regulatory light chain, thereby suppressing NMII clustering in the region of TCR stimulation. Concurrently, phosphorylation of distinct sites within myosin regulatory light chain by Rho kinase drove NMII clustering in areas behind the centrosome. These results reveal a role for NMII in T-cell polarity and demonstrate how it is regulated by upstream signals.


cytoskeleton; microtubule-organizing center; polarity; signal transduction

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