Although the immune adaptor adhesion and degranulation-promoting adaptor protein (ADAP) acts as a key mediator of integrin inside-out signaling leading to T cell adhesion, the regulation of this adaptor during integrin activation and clustering remains unclear. We now identify Ubc9, the sole small ubiquitin-related modifier E2 conjugase, as an essential regulator of ADAP where it is required for TCR-induced membrane recruitment of the small GTPase Rap1 and its effector protein RapL and for activation of the small GTPase Rac1 in T cell adhesion. We show that Ubc9 interacted directly with ADAP in vitro and in vivo, and the association was increased in response to anti-CD3 stimulation. The Ubc9-binding domain on ADAP was mapped to a nuclear localization sequence (aa 674-700) within ADAP. Knockdown of Ubc9 by short hairpin RNA or expression of the Ubc9-binding-deficient ADAP mutant significantly decreased TCR-induced integrin adhesion to ICAM-1 and fibronectin, as well as LFA-1 clustering, although it had little effect on the TCR proximal signaling responses and TCR-induced IL-2 transcription. Furthermore, downregulation of Ubc9 impaired TCR-mediated Rac1 activation and attenuated the membrane targeting of Rap1 and RapL, but not Rap1-interacting adaptor molecule. Taken together, our data demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that Ubc9 acts as a functional binding partner of ADAP and plays a selective role in integrin-mediated T cell adhesion via modulation of Rap1-RapL membrane recruitment and Rac1 activation.
Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.