The structure, regulation, and function of ZAP-70

Immunol Rev. 2009 Mar;228(1):41-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00753.x.


The tyrosine ZAP-70 (zeta-associated protein of 70 kDa) kinase plays a critical role in activating many downstream signal transduction pathways in T cells following T-cell receptor (TCR) engagement. The importance of ZAP-70 is evidenced by the severe combined immunodeficiency that occurs in ZAP-70-deficient mice and humans. In this review, we describe recent analyses of the ZAP-70 crystal structure, revealing a complex regulatory mechanism of ZAP-70 activity, the differential requirements for ZAP-70 and spleen tyrosine kinase (SyK) in early T-cell development, as well as the role of ZAP-70 in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and autoimmunity. Thus, the critical importance of ZAP-70 in TCR signaling and its predominantly T-cell-restricted expression pattern make ZAP-70 an attractive drug target for the inhibition of pathological T-cell responses in disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase / chemistry*
  • ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase / immunology*
  • ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase / metabolism


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase