The influence of the src-family kinases, Lck and Fyn, on T cell differentiation, survival and activation

Immunol Rev. 2003 Feb;191:107-18. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-065x.2003.00015.x.


The src-family kinases p56lck (Lck) and p59fyn (Fyn) are expressed in T cells and are among the first signaling molecules to be activated downstream of the T cell receptor (TCR). Evidence is emerging that although closely related, these signaling molecules have discrete functions during development, maintenance and activation of peripheral T cells. For example, during thymopoiesis Lck is uniquely able to provide all the signals required for pre-TCRbeta selection, although Fyn can substitute for a subset of these. Positive selection of CD4 single-positive (SP) cells is also critically dependent on the expression of Lck but not Fyn, while differentiation of CD8 SP cells proceeds relatively efficiently in the absence of Lck. In naïve peripheral T cells either Lck or Fyn can transmit TCR-mediated survival signals, and yet only Lck is able to trigger TCR-mediated expansion signals under conditions of lymphopenia. Stimulation of naïve T cells by antigenic stimuli is also severely compromised in the absence of Lck, but more subtly impaired by the absence of Fyn. We discuss recent experiments addressing how these two src-kinase family members interface with downstream signaling pathways to regulate these diverse aspects of T cell behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck) / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn
  • T-Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Thymus Gland / physiology


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • FYN protein, human
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck)
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn