GRB2-mediated recruitment of THEMIS to LAT is essential for thymocyte development.
ABSTRACT: Thymocyte-expressed molecule involved in selection (THEMIS) is a recently identified regulator of thymocyte positive selection. THEMIS's mechanism of action is unknown, and whether it has a role in TCR-proximal signaling is controversial. In this article, we show that THEMIS and the adapter molecule growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (GRB2) associate constitutively through binding of a conserved PxRPxK motif within the proline-rich region 1 of THEMIS to the C-terminal SH3-domain of GRB2. This association is indispensable for THEMIS recruitment to the immunological synapse via the transmembrane adapter linker for activation of T cells (LAT) and for THEMIS phosphorylation by Lck and ZAP-70. Two major sites of tyrosine phosphorylation were mapped to a YY-motif close to proline-rich region 1. The YY-motif was crucial for GRB2 binding, suggesting that this region of THEMIS might control local phosphorylation-dependent conformational changes important for THEMIS function. Finally, THEMIS binding to GRB2 was required for thymocyte development. Our data firmly assign THEMIS to the TCR-proximal signaling cascade as a participant in the LAT signalosome and suggest that the THEMIS-GRB2 complex might be involved in shaping the nature of Ras signaling, thereby governing thymic selection.
Project description:Stimulation of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) induces formation of a phosphorylation-dependent signaling network via multiprotein complexes, whose compositions and dynamics are incompletely understood. Using stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)-based quantitative proteomics, we investigated the kinetics of signal propagation after TCR-induced protein tyrosine phosphorylation. We confidently assigned 77 proteins (of 758 identified) as a direct or indirect consequence of tyrosine phosphorylation that proceeds in successive "signaling waves" revealing the temporal pace at which tyrosine kinases activate cellular functions. The first wave includes thymocyte-expressed molecule involved in selection (THEMIS), a protein recently implicated in thymocyte development but whose signaling role is unclear. We found that tyrosine phosphorylation of THEMIS depends on the presence of the scaffold proteins Linker for activation of T cells (LAT) and SH2 domain-containing lymphocyte protein of 76 kDa (SLP-76). THEMIS associates with LAT, presumably via the adapter growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2) and with phospholipase C?1 (PLC-?1). RNAi-mediated THEMIS knock-down inhibited TCR-induced IL-2 gene expression due to reduced ERK and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)/activator protein 1 (AP-1) signaling, whereas JNK, p38, or nuclear factor ?B (NF-?B) activation were unaffected. Our study reveals the dynamics of TCR-dependent signaling networks and suggests a specific role for THEMIS in early TCR signalosome function.
Project description:THEMIS is critical for conventional T-cell development, but its precise molecular function remains elusive. Here, we show that THEMIS constitutively associates with the phosphatases SHP1 and SHP2. This complex requires the adapter GRB2, which bridges SHP to THEMIS in a Tyr-phosphorylation-independent fashion. Rather, SHP1 and THEMIS engage with the N-SH3 and C-SH3 domains of GRB2, respectively, a configuration that allows GRB2-SH2 to recruit the complex onto LAT. Consistent with THEMIS-mediated recruitment of SHP to the TCR signalosome, THEMIS knock-down increased TCR-induced CD3-? phosphorylation, Erk activation and CD69 expression, but not LCK phosphorylation. This generalized TCR signalling increase led to augmented apoptosis, a phenotype mirrored by SHP1 knock-down. Remarkably, a KI mutation of LCK Ser59, previously suggested to be key in ERK-mediated resistance towards SHP1 negative feedback, did not affect TCR signalling nor ligand discrimination in vivo. Thus, the THEMIS:SHP complex dampens early TCR signalling by a previously unknown molecular mechanism that favours T-cell survival. We discuss possible implications of this mechanism in modulating TCR output signals towards conventional T-cell development and differentiation.
Project description:Themis (also named Gasp) is a newly identified Grb2-binding protein that is essential for thymocyte positive selection. Despite the possible involvement of Themis in TCR-mediated signal transduction, its function remains unresolved and controversial. Themis contains two functionally uncharacterized regions called CABIT (cysteine-containing, all-? in Themis) domains, a nuclear localization signal (NLS), and a proline-rich sequence (PRS). To elucidate the role of these motifs in Themis's function in vivo, we established a series of mutant Themis transgenic mice on a Themis(-/-) background. Deletion of the highly conserved Core motif of CABIT1 or CABIT2 (Core1 or Core2, respectively), the NLS, or the PRS abolished Grb2-association, as well as TCR-dependent tyrosine-phosphorylation and the ability to induce positive selection in the thymus. The NLS and Core1 motifs were required for the nuclear localization of Themis, whereas Core2 and PRS were not. Furthermore, expression of ?Core1- but not ?Core2-Themis conferred dominant negative-type inhibition on T cell development. Collectively, our current results indicate that PRS, NLS, CABIT1, and CABIT2 are all required for positive selection, and that each of the CABIT domains exerts distinct functions during positive selection.
Project description:THEMIS is critical for conventional T cell development but its precise molecular function remains elusive. Here we show that THEMIS constitutively associates with the phosphatases SHP-1 and SHP-2. This complex requires the adapter GRB2, which bridges SHP to Themis in a Tyr-phosphorylation-independent fashion. Rather, SHP1 and THEMIS engage with the N-SH3 and C-SH3 domains of GRB2, respectively, a configuration that allows GRB2-SH2 to recruit the complex onto LAT. Coherent with THEMIS-mediated recruitment of SHP to the TCR signalosome, THEMIS knockdown increased TCR-induced TCR- phosphorylation, Erk activation and CD69 expression, however not Lck phosphorylation. This generalized TCR signalling increase led to augmented apoptosis, a phenotype mirrored by SHP-1 knockdown. Remarkably, a KI mutation of Lck Ser59, previously suggested to be key in ERK-mediated resistance towards SHP-1 negative feedback, did not affect TCR signalling nor ligand discrimination in vivo. Thus, THEMIS:SHP complex dampens early TCR signalling by a previously unknown molecular mechanism that favors T cell survival. We discuss possible implications of this mechanism in modulating TCR output signals towards conventional T cell development and differentiation.
Project description:The activation of the small guanosine triphosphatase Ras by the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Sos1 (Son of Sevenless 1) is a central feature of many receptor-stimulated signaling pathways. In developing T cells (thymocytes), Sos1-dependent activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is required to stimulate cellular proliferation and differentiation. We showed that in addition to its GEF activity, Sos1 acted as a scaffold to nucleate oligomerization of the T cell adaptor protein LAT (linker for activation of T cells) in vivo. The scaffold function of Sos1 depended on its ability to bind to the adaptor protein Grb2. Furthermore, the GEF activity of Sos1 and the Sos1-dependent oligomerization of LAT were separable functions in vivo. Whereas the GEF activity of Sos1 was required for optimal ERK phosphorylation in response to T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, the Sos1-dependent oligomerization of LAT was required for maximal TCR-dependent phosphorylation and activation of phospholipase C-?1 and Ca(2+) signaling. Finally, both of these Sos1 functions were required for early thymocyte proliferation. Whereas transgenic restoration of either the GEF activity or the LAT oligomerization functions of Sos1 alone failed to rescue thymocyte development in Sos1-deficient mice, simultaneous reconstitution of these two signals in the same cell restored normal T cell development. This ability of Sos1 to act both as a RasGEF and as a scaffold to nucleate Grb2-dependent adaptor oligomerization may also occur in other Grb2-dependent pathways, such as those activated by growth factor receptors.
Project description:Themis1, a recently identified T cell protein, has a critical function in the generation of mature CD4(+)CD8(-) and CD4(-)CD8(+) (CD4 and CD8 single-positive [SP]) thymocytes and T cells. Although Themis1 has been shown to bind to the adaptor proteins LAT and Grb2, previous studies have yielded conflicting results regarding whether thymocytes from Themis1(-/-) mice exhibit TCR-mediated signaling defects. In this study, we demonstrate that, in the absence of Themis1, TCR-mediated signaling is selectively impaired in CD4 SP and CD8 SP thymocytes but is not affected in CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive thymocytes despite high expression of Themis1 in double-positive thymocytes. Like Themis1, Themis2, a related member of the Themis family, which is expressed in B cells and macrophages, contains two conserved cysteine-based domains, a proline-rich region, and a nuclear localization signal. To determine whether Themis1 and Themis2 can perform similar functions in vivo, we analyzed T cell development and TCR-mediated signaling in Themis1(-/-) mice reconstituted with either Themis1 or Themis2 transgenes. Notably, Themis1 and Themis2 exhibited the same potential to restore T cell development and TCR-mediated signaling in Themis1(-/-) mice. Both proteins were tyrosine phosphorylated and were recruited within Grb2 signaling complexes to LAT following TCR engagement. These results suggest that conserved molecular features of the Themis1 and Themis2 proteins are important for their biological activity and predict that Themis1 and Themis2 may perform similar functions in T and B cells, respectively.
Project description:T cell-antigen receptor (TCR) signaling requires the sequential activities of the kinases Lck and Zap70. Upon TCR stimulation, Lck phosphorylates the TCR, thus leading to the recruitment, phosphorylation, and activation of Zap70. Lck binds and stabilizes phosho-Zap70 by using its SH2 domain, and Zap70 phosphorylates the critical adaptors LAT and SLP76, which coordinate downstream signaling. It is unclear whether phosphorylation of these adaptors occurs through passive diffusion or active recruitment. We report the discovery of a conserved proline-rich motif in LAT that mediates efficient LAT phosphorylation. Lck associates with this motif via its SH3 domain, and with phospho-Zap70 via its SH2 domain, thereby acting as a molecular bridge that facilitates the colocalization of Zap70 and LAT. Elimination of this proline-rich motif compromises TCR signaling and T cell development. These results demonstrate the remarkable multifunctionality of Lck, wherein each of its domains has evolved to orchestrate a distinct step in TCR signaling.
Project description:Tyrosine phosphorylation of membrane receptors and scaffold proteins followed by recruitment of SH2 domain-containing adaptor proteins constitutes a central mechanism of intracellular signal transduction. During early T-cell receptor (TCR) activation, phosphorylation of linker for activation of T cells (LAT) leading to recruitment of adaptor proteins, including Grb2, is one prototypical example. LAT contains multiple modifiable sites, and this multivalency may provide additional layers of regulation, although this is not well understood. Here, we quantitatively analyze the effects of multivalent phosphorylation of LAT by reconstituting the initial reactions of the TCR signaling pathway on supported membranes. Results from a series of LAT constructs with combinatorial mutations of tyrosine residues reveal a previously unidentified allosteric mechanism in which the binding affinity of LAT:Grb2 depends on the phosphorylation at remote tyrosine sites. Additionally, we find that LAT:Grb2 binding affinity is altered by membrane localization. This allostery mainly regulates the kinetic on-rate, not off-rate, of LAT:Grb2 interactions. LAT is an intrinsically disordered protein, and these data suggest that phosphorylation changes the overall ensemble of configurations to modulate the accessibility of other phosphorylated sites to Grb2. Using Grb2 as a phosphorylation reporter, we further monitored LAT phosphorylation by TCR ? chain-recruited ZAP-70, which suggests a weakly processive catalysis on membranes. Taken together, these results suggest that signal transmission through LAT is strongly gated and requires multiple phosphorylation events before efficient signal transmission is achieved.
Project description:T cells develop in the thymus through positive and negative selection, which are responsible for shaping the T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in selection remains an area of intense interest. Here, we identified and characterized a gene product Gasp (Grb2-associating protein, also called Themis) that is critically required for positive selection. Gasp is a cytosolic protein with no known functional motifs that is expressed only in T cells, especially immature CD4/CD8 double positive (DP) thymocytes. In the absence of Gasp, differentiation of both CD4 and CD8 single positive cells in the thymus was severely inhibited, whereas all other TCR-induced events such as beta-selection, negative selection, peripheral activation, and homeostatic proliferation were unaffected. We found that Gasp constitutively associates with Grb2 via its N-terminal Src homology 3 domain, suggesting that Gasp acts as a thymocyte-specific adaptor for Grb2 or regulates Ras signaling in DP thymocytes. Collectively, we have described a gene called Gasp that is critical for positive selection.
Project description:CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells play pivotal roles in eradicating pathogens and tumor cells. T cell receptor (TCR) signaling is vital for the optimal activation of CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells. Upon TCR engagement, the transmembrane adapter protein LAT (linker for activation of T cells) recruits other key signaling molecules and forms the "LAT signalosome" for downstream signal transduction. However, little is known about which functional partners could restrain the formation of the LAT signalosome and inhibit CD8<sup>+</sup> cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-mediated cytotoxicity. Here we have demonstrated that LRCH1 (leucine-rich repeats and calponin homology domain containing 1) directly binds LAT, reduces LAT phosphorylation and interaction with GRB2, and also promotes the endocytosis of LAT. <i>Lrch1</i> <sup>-/-</sup> mice display better protection against influenza virus and <i>Listeria</i> infection, with enhanced CD8<sup>+</sup> T cell proliferation and cytotoxicity. Adoptive transfer of <i>Lrch1</i> <sup>-/-</sup> CD8<sup>+</sup> CTLs leads to increased B16-MO5 tumor clearance in vivo. Furthermore, knockout of <i>LRCH1</i> in human chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells that recognize the liver tumor-associated antigen glypican-3 could improve CAR T cell migration and proliferation in vitro. These findings suggest LRCH1 as a potential translational target to improve T cell immunotherapy against infection and tumors.