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The protein tyrosine kinase ZAP-70, which mediates T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) signalling, contains three distinct functional modules, two tandemly arranged SH2 domains, a kinase domain and a linker region (interdomain B) that connects them. ZAP-70 enzymatic activation is strictly dependent on the binding, via its SH2 domains, to the triggered TCR and on tyrosine phosphorylation. Here we utilized recombinant ZAP-70 and carried out a mutational analysis to understand the structural requirements for its activation. We show that deletion of both SH2 domains corresponding to the first 254 residues moderately increases ZAP-70 enzymatic activity on an exogenous substrate in vitro, results in increased tyrosine phosphorylation and produces subtle conformational changes, as judged by altered SDS/PAGE migration. Mutation of Tyr292, 315 and 319 to Phe in the interdomain B region, which constitute the major phosphorylation sites both in vitro and in vivo, did not affect ZAP-70 enzymatic activity. Moreover, deletion analysis of the interdomain B region established residues 320-619 as a minimal region endowed with full kinase activity. We propose that binding of ZAP-70 to the TCR promotes, through conformational changes, its extensive phosphorylation on tyrosine. However, Tyr292, 315 and 319 do not affect ZAP-70 enzymatic activity and may influence ZAP-70 signalling only indirectly by mediating its association with intracellular transducers.


Journal article


Eur J Biochem

Publication Date





1166 - 1173


Animals, Binding Sites, COS Cells, Catalytic Domain, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Jurkat Cells, Mutation, Phosphorylation, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, Recombinant Proteins, Signal Transduction, Transfection, Tyrosine, ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase, src Homology Domains