Function of the Src-family kinases, Lck and Fyn, in T-cell development and activation

Oncogene. 2004 Oct 18;23(48):7990-8000. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208074.


The function of the Src-family kinases (SFKs) Lck and Fyn in T cells has been intensively studied over the past 15 years. Animal models and cell line studies both indicate a critical role for Lck and Fyn in proximal T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) signal transduction. Recruited SFKs phosphorylate TCR ITAMs (immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs) in the CD3 and zeta chains, which then serve as docking sites for Syk-family kinases. SFKs then phosphorylate and activate the recruited Syk-family kinase. Lck and Fyn are spatially segregated in cell membranes due to differential lipid raft localization, and may undergo sequential activation. In addition to the CD4 and CD8 coreceptors, a recently described adaptor, Unc119, may link SFKs to the TCR. CD45 and Csk provide positive and negative regulatory control of SFK functions, respectively, and Csk is constitutively bound to the transmembrane adapter protein, PAG/Cbp. TCR-based signaling is required at several stages of T-cell development, including at least pre-TCR signaling, positive selection, peripheral maintenance of naive T cells, and lymphopenia-induced proliferation. SFKs are required for each of these TCR-based signals, and Lck seems to be the major contributor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Specific Protein Tyrosine Kinase p56(lck) / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fyn
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*


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