Hierarchical nanostructure and synergy of multimolecular signalling complexes

Eilon Sherman*, Valarie A. Barr, Robert K. Merrill, Carole K. Regan, Connie L. Sommers, Lawrence E. Samelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Signalling complexes are dynamic, multimolecular structures and sites for intracellular signal transduction. Although they play a crucial role in cellular activation, current research techniques fail to resolve their structure in intact cells. Here we present a multicolour, photoactivated localization microscopy approach for imaging multiple types of single molecules in fixed and live cells and statistical tools to determine the nanoscale organization, topology and synergy of molecular interactions in signalling complexes downstream of the T-cell antigen receptor. We observe that signalling complexes nucleated at the key adapter LAT show a hierarchical topology. The critical enzymes PLCγ1 and VAV1 localize to the centre of LAT-based complexes, and the adapter SLP-76 and actin molecules localize to the periphery. Conditional second-order statistics reveal a hierarchical network of synergic interactions between these molecules. Our results extend our understanding of the nanostructure of signalling complexes and are relevant to studying a wide range of multimolecular complexes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number12161
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 11 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Intramural Research Programs of the National Cancer Institute (The Center for Cancer Research), Grant no. 321993 from the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions of the European Commission, the Lejwa Fund, and Grants no. 1417/13 and no. 1937/13 from the Israeli Science Foundation.


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