The assembly of cell surface receptors with downstream signaling molecules is a commonly occurring theme in multiple signaling systems. However, little is known about how these assemblies modulate reaction kinetics and the ultimate propagation of signals. Here, we reconstitute phosphotyrosine-mediated assembly of extended linker for the activation of T cells (LAT):growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2):Son of Sevenless (SOS) networks, derived from the T-cell receptor signaling system, on supported membranes. Single-molecule dwell time distributions reveal two, well-differentiated kinetic species for both Grb2 and SOS on the LAT assemblies. The majority fraction of membrane-recruited Grb2 and SOS both exhibit fast kinetics and single exponential dwell time distributions, with average dwell times of hundreds of milliseconds. The minor fraction exhibits much slower kinetics, extending the dwell times to tens of seconds. Considering this result in the context of the multistep process by which the Ras GEF (guanine nucleotide exchange factor) activity of SOS is activated indicates that kinetic stabilization from the LAT assembly may be important. This kinetic proofreading effect would additionally serve as a stochastic noise filter by reducing the relative probability of spontaneous SOS activation in the absence of receptor triggering. The generality of receptor-mediated assembly suggests that such effects may play a role in multiple receptor proximal signaling processes.
Keywords: kinetic proofreading; membrane dwell time; protein assembly; signal transduction; single molecule.