The role of adapter proteins in T cell activation

Cell Mol Life Sci. 1999 Dec;56(11-12):1048-60. doi: 10.1007/s000180050492.


Engagement of antigen receptors on lymphocytes leads to a myriad of complex signal transduction cascades. Recently, work from several laboratories has led to the identification and characterization of novel adapter molecules, proteins with no intrinsic enzymatic activity but which integrate signal transduction pathways by mediating protein-protein interactions. Interestingly, it appears that many of these adapter proteins play as critical a role as the effector enzymes themselves in both lymphocyte development and activation. This review describes some of the biochemical and molecular features of several of these newly identified hematopoietic cell-specific adapter molecules highlighting their importance in regulating (both positively and negatively) signal transduction mediated by the T cell antigen receptor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing*
  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Membrane Proteins*
  • Models, Immunological
  • Phosphoproteins / chemistry
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Carrier Proteins
  • LAT protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • SLP-76 signal Transducing adaptor proteins