ABSTRACT: 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 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: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:Thymocyte-expressed molecule involved in selection (Themis) has been shown to be important for T cell selection by setting the threshold for positive versus negative selection. Themis interacts with the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) Src-homology domain containing phosphatase-1 (Shp1), a negative regulator of the T cell receptor (TCR) signaling cascade. However, how Themis regulates Shp1 is still not clear. Here, using a very sensitive phosphatase assay on ex vivo thymocytes, we have found that Themis enhances Shp1 phosphatase activity by increasing its phosphorylation. This positive regulation of Shp1 activity by Themis is found in thymocytes, but not in peripheral T cells. Shp1 activity is modulated by different affinity peptide MHC ligand binding in thymocytes. Themis is also associated with phosphatase activity, due to its constitutive interaction with Shp1. In the absence of Shp1 in thymocytes, Themis interacts with Shp2, which leads to almost normal thymic development in Shp1 conditional knockout (cKO) mice. Double deletion of both Themis and Shp1 leads to a thymic phenotype similar to that of Themis KO. These findings demonstrate unequivocally that Themis positively regulates Shp1 phosphatase activity in TCR-mediated signaling in developing thymocytes.
Project description:Grb2 is an adaptor molecule that mediates Ras-MAPK activation induced by various receptors. Here we show that conditional ablation of Grb2 in thymocytes severely impairs both thymic positive and negative selections. Strikingly, the mutation attenuates T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) proximal signaling, including tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple signaling proteins and Ca(2+) influx. The defective TCR signaling can be attributed to a marked impairment in Lck activation. Ectopic expression of a mutant Grb2 composed of the central SH2 and the C-terminal SH3 domains in Grb2(-/-) thymocytes fully restores thymocyte development. Thus, Grb2 plays a pivotal role in both thymic positive and negative selection. It amplifies TCR signaling at the top end of the tyrosine phosphorylation cascade via a scaffolding function.
Project description:Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell costimulation mediated by CD28 and 4-1BB is essential for CAR-T cell-induced tumor regression. However, CD28 and 4-1BB differentially modulate kinetics, metabolism and persistence of CAR-T cells, and the mechanisms governing these differences are not fully understood. We found that LCK recruited into the synapse of CD28-encoding CAR by co-receptors causes antigen-independent CAR-CD3? phosphorylation and increased antigen-dependent T cell activation. In contrast, the synapse formed by 4-1BB-encoding CAR recruits the THEMIS-SHP1 phosphatase complex that attenuates CAR-CD3? phosphorylation. We further demonstrated that the CAR synapse can be engineered to recruit either LCK to enhance the kinetics of tumor killing of 4-1BB CAR-T cells or SHP1 to tune down cytokine release of CD28 CAR-T cells.
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: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:The adaptor protein Grb2 (growth factor receptor-bound protein 2) is involved in cell proliferation via the Ras signalling pathway. In order to study the role of Grb2 in blood platelet responses, we used a peptide containing two proline-rich sequences derived from Sos (peptidimer), which binds to Grb2-Src homology 3 domain (SH3) with a high affinity, and hence inhibits Grb2-SH3-mediated protein interactions. Platelet aggregation and 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) release measured in the presence of the peptidimer were: (i) significantly decreased when induced by thrombin; and (ii) potentiated when induced by the engagement of the Fc receptor. In thrombin-activated platelets, the Grb2-SH2 domain formed an association with the beta3 subunit of the alphaIIb-beta3 integrin (GPIIb-IIIa), Shc, Syk, Src and SHP1 (SH2-containing phosphotyrosine phosphatase 1), whereas these associations did not occur after the engagement of the receptor for the Fc domain of IgG (FcgammaRIIa) or in resting platelets. Grb2-SH3 domains formed an association with the proline-rich sequences of Sos and Cbl in both resting and activated platelets, since the peptidimer abolished these associations. Inhibition of both fibrinogen binding and platelet aggregation by the peptide RGDS (Arg-Gly-Asp-Ser) had no effect on thrombin-induced Grb2-SH2 domain association with the aforementioned signalling molecules, indicating that these associations occurred during thrombin-induced 'inside-out' signalling. Platelet aggregation induced by direct activation via alphaIIb-beta3 ('outside-in' signalling) was potentiated by the peptidimer. The results show that inhibition of Grb2-SH3 interactions with signal-transduction proteins down-regulates thrombin-induced platelet activation, but also potentiates Fc receptor- and alphaIIb-beta3-mediated platelet activation.
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:CD8(+) T cells develop increased sensitivity following Ag experience, and differences in sensitivity exist between T cell memory subsets. How differential TCR signaling between memory subsets contributes to sensitivity differences is unclear. We show in mouse effector memory T cells (TEM) that >50% of lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (Lck) exists in a constitutively active conformation, compared with <20% in central memory T cells (TCM). Immediately proximal to Lck signaling, we observed enhanced Zap-70 phosphorylation in TEM following TCR ligation compared with TCM Furthermore, we observed superior cytotoxic effector function in TEM compared with TCM, and we provide evidence that this results from a lower probability of TCM reaching threshold signaling owing to the decreased magnitude of TCR-proximal signaling. We provide evidence that the differences in Lck constitutive activity between CD8(+) TCM and TEM are due to differential regulation by SH2 domain-containing phosphatase-1 (Shp-1) and C-terminal Src kinase, and we use modeling of early TCR signaling to reveal the significance of these differences. We show that inhibition of Shp-1 results in increased constitutive Lck activity in TCM to levels similar to TEM, as well as increased cytotoxic effector function in TCM Collectively, this work demonstrates a role for constitutive Lck activity in controlling Ag sensitivity, and it suggests that differential activities of TCR-proximal signaling components may contribute to establishing the divergent effector properties of TCM and TEM. This work also identifies Shp-1 as a potential target to improve the cytotoxic effector functions of TCM for adoptive cell therapy applications.