Lo WL, Shah NH, Rubin SA, Zhang W, Horkova V, Fallahee IR, Stepanek O, Zon LI, Kuriyan J, Weiss A. 2019. Slow phosphorylation of a tyrosine residue in LAT optimizes T cell ligand discrimination. Nature immunology. 20(11):1481-1493. Pubmed: 31611699 DOI:10.1038/s41590-019-0502-2


Self-non-self discrimination is central to T cell-mediated immunity. The kinetic proofreading model can explain T cell antigen receptor (TCR) ligand discrimination; however, the rate-limiting steps have not been identified. Here, we show that tyrosine phosphorylation of the T cell adapter protein LAT at position Y132 is a critical kinetic bottleneck for ligand discrimination. LAT phosphorylation at Y132, mediated by the kinase ZAP-70, leads to the recruitment and activation of phospholipase C-γ1 (PLC-γ1), an important effector molecule for T cell activation. The slow phosphorylation of Y132, relative to other phosphosites on LAT, is governed by a preceding glycine residue (G131) but can be accelerated by substituting this glycine with aspartate or glutamate. Acceleration of Y132 phosphorylation increases the speed and magnitude of PLC-γ1 activation and enhances T cell sensitivity to weaker stimuli, including weak agonists and self-peptides. These observations suggest that the slow phosphorylation of Y132 acts as a proofreading step to facilitate T cell ligand discrimination.

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Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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