The T cell antigen receptor ζ chain is tyrosine phosphorylated upon activation

M. Baniyash, P. Garcia-Morales, E. Luong, L. E. Samelson, R. D. Klausner

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The T cell antigen receptor is composed of at least seven chains derived from six different gene products. Upon stimulation, several chains can be phosphorylated. Two of these, CD3-γ and CD3-ε are phosphorylated on serine residues. In addition, a 21-kDa nonglycosylated receptor component is phosphorylated, upon activation, on tyrosine residues. We have referred to this phosphoprotein as p21 because we have previously not been able to assign the tyrosine phosphorylation to any of the described receptor subunits (Samelson, L.E., Patel, M.D., Weissman, A.M., Harford, J.B., and Klausner, R.D. (1986) Cell 46, 1083-1090). In this paper, we demonstrate that it is the 16-kDa ζ chain which is the tyrosine phosphorylated subunit, and thus the p21 nomenclature can be replaced. This phosphorylation results in a shift of the apparent M(r) of ζ to 21 kDa. Proof that p21 is tyrosine phosphorylated ζ was afforded by a number of approaches. Specific anti-ζ antibodies directly precipitated phospho-p21. Metabolically labeled protein corresponding to p21 could only be observed after activation. When this 21-kDa band was isolated after sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and reanalyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis after treatment with alkaline phosphatase, its migration was identical with that of ζ. Furthermore, peptide mapping of metabolically labeled p21 (after gel isolation and dephosphorylation) showed it to be indistinguishable from p21. Thus, one of the early events of T cell activation is the tyrosine phosphorylation of the ζ chain of the T cell antigen receptor.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)18225-18230
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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