Background: The adaptor protein Gads is a Grb2-related protein originally identified on the basis of its interaction with the tyrosine-phosphorylated form of the docking protein Shc. Gads protein expression is restricted to hematopoietic tissues and cell lines. Gads contains a Src homology 2 (SH2) domain, which has previously been shown to have a similar binding specificity to that of Grb2. Gads also possesses two SH3 domains, but these have a distinct binding specificity to those of Grb2, as Gads does not bind to known Grb2 SH3 domain targets. Here, we investigated whether Gads is involved in T-cell signaling.
Results: We found that Gads is highly expressed in T cells and that the SLP-76 adaptor protein is a major Gads-associated protein in vivo. The constitutive interaction between Gads and SLP-76 was mediated by the carboxy-terminal SH3 domain of Gads and a 20 amino-acid proline-rich region in SLP-76. Gads also coimmunoprecipitated the tyrosine-phosphorylated form of the linker for activated T cells (LAT) adaptor protein following cross-linking of the T-cell receptor; this interaction was mediated by the Gads SH2 domain. Overexpression of Gads and SLP-76 resulted in a synergistic augmentation of T-cell signaling, as measured by activation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), and this cooperation required a functional Gads SH2 domain.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that Gads plays an important role in T-cell signaling via its association with SLP-76 and LAT. Gads may promote cross-talk between the LAT and SLP-76 signaling complexes, thereby coupling membrane-proximal events to downstream signaling pathways.